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Set up and electrotyped. Published December, 1905. 


J. 8. Gushing A Co. -Berwick A Smith Co. 
Norwood, MMB., U.S.A. 


THE writings of Franklin are published in this edition 
strictly in chronological order. In some instances it has been 
impossible to determine exactly the date of composition, 
and such works have been placed in the Appendix. In this 
volume the " Plan for Settling two Western Colonies in North 
America, with Reasons for the Plan " (pages 358-366), has 
been entered under the year 1756, at which time it was pre- 
sented by Governor Pownall as a Memorial to the Duke of 
Cumberland. It is clear from Franklin's letter to Peter 
Collinson, June 26, 1755 (page 265), that it was written 
before the autumn of 1754, and it should therefore have been 
published as of that year. 

The "Papers relating to a Plan of Union of the Colonies" 
have been reprinted from the "Minutes of the Provincial 
Council of Pennsylvania," volume vi., page 105 ; and from 
"New York Colonial Documents" (O'Callaghan), volume 
vi., pages 853-892. 

The letters to Catherine Ray, afterwards wife of William 
Greene, governor of Rhode Island, have been reprinted from 
the Rhode Island Mercury, where they were first published by 
William B. Weeden. The original letters are in the possession 
of Mrs. E. J. Roelker. 

The " Report of the Committee of Aggrievances of the 
Assembly of Pennsylvania," dated February 22, 1757, has 



always been printed among the Works of Franklin, and it is 
so printed here (pages 37-377)- I think it unlikely that he 
ever penned a line of it. It is a statement of the instruc- 
tions necessary to be given by the Assembly to Benjamin 
Franklin upon his appointment as agent of the province, 
"to solicit and transact the affairs thereof in Great Britain." 
The Report was submitted to the Correction of the House 
by Joseph Fox, Thomas Leech, John Hughes, Joseph Gallo- 
way, William Masters, Joseph Gibbons, and Thomas Yorke. 
It undoubtedly reflects the opinions of Franklin, and it may 
have been directly inspired by him. Benjamin Vaughan, 
who was of Franklin's counsel in the whole course of his 
life, printed it in his edition of the Works of Franklin. It 
is reprinted here because of its historical and biographical 


A. H. S. 




103. To Jared Eliot. February 13, 1750 i 

104. To Mrs. Abiah Franklin. April 12, 1750 ... 3 

105. To William Strahan. June 2, 1750 5 

106. To Cadwallader Golden. June 28, 1750 .... 7 

107. Preface to Poor Richard Improved. July 30, 1750 . . 9 

108. To Samuel Johnson, D.D. August 9, 1750 ... 12 

109. To Samuel Johnson, D.D. August 23, 1750 16 
no. To Samuel Johnson, D.D. September 13, 1750 . . 19 
in. To Samuel Johnson, D.D. October 25, 1750 ... 20 

112. Idea of the English School. October, 1750 ... 21 

113. To Jared Eliot. October 25, 1750 . ... 30 

114. To a Friend in Boston. December 25, 1750 ... 32 

115. To Cadwallader Golden. 1751 34 

116. To William Strahan. February 4, 1751 .... 39 

117. To James Parker. March 20, 1751 40 

118. Exporting of Felons to the Colonies. May 9. 1751 . . 45 

119. To Peter Collinson. May 21, 1751 48 

120. To William Strahan. June 28, 1751 51 

121. To James Bowdoin. September 5, 1751 .... 52 

122. To Jared Eliot. September 12, 1751 52 

123. To William Strahan. September 22, 1751 . ... 56 

124. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. October 24, 1751 .... 57 

125. To Susanna Wright. November 21, 1751 .... 57 

126. To Jared Eliot. December 10, 1751 58 

127. To Jared Eliot. December 24, 1751 60 

128. To Samuel Johnson, D.D. December 24, 1751 . . . 61 

129. Observations concerning the Increase of Mankind. 1751 . 63 

130. To James Bowdoin. January 24, 1752 . . . -73 

131. To Jared Eliot. February 4, 1752 77 

132. To E. Kinnersley. March 2, 1752 78 

133. To E. Kinnersley. March 16, 1752 79 



134. To William Strahan. March 21, 1752 81 

135. To Cadwallader Golden. April 23, 1752 . . . 82 

136. To Cadwallader Golden. May 14, 1752 .... 87 

137. To Edward and Jane Mecom. May 21, 1752 . . . 89 

138. To William Strahan. June 20, 1752 89 

139. To Samuel Johnson, D.D. July 2, 1752 .... 91 

140. To Susanna Wright. July u, 1752 93 

141. To William Strahan. August 8, 1752 .... 94 

142. To John Perkins. August 13, 1752 95 

143. To Cadwallader Golden. September 14, 1752 ... 97 

144. To Peter Collinson. October 19, 1752 .... 99 

145. Preface to Poor Richard Improved. [October] 1752 . . 100 

146. To Edward and Jane Mecom. November 14, 1752 . . 101 

147. To John Franklin. December 8, 1752 .... 103 

148. To Cadwallader Golden. January i, 1753 . . . .105 

149. To John Perkins. February 4, 1753 107 

150. To James Bowdoin. February 28, 1753 .... 122 

151. To Jared Eliot. April 12, 1753 123 

152. To James Bowdoin. April 12, 1753 125 

153. To William Smith. April 19, 1753 126 

154. To Jared Eliot. May 3, 1753 128 

155. To William Smith. May 3, 1753 131 

156. To Richard Jackson. May 5, 1753 133 

157. To William Strahan. May 9, 1753 142 

158. To Joseph Huey. June 6, 1753 143 

159. To Peter Collinson. June 26, 1753 *46 

160. To William Franklin. July 23, 1753 147 

161. To Peter Collinson. September, 1753 . . . .148 

162. To James Bowdoin. October 1 8, 1753 . . . .163 

163. To Cadwallader Golden. October 25, 1753 -163 

164. To William Strahan. October 27, 1753 . . . .165 

165. Preface to Poor Richard, 1754. [October] 1753 . . 167 

166. To Thomas Clap. November 8, 1753 . . . .169 

167. To Peter Collinson. November 23, 1753 . . 171 

168. Proposal of an Experiment to measure the Time taken up 

by an Electric Spark in moving through any given Space. 
By James Alexander, of New York ; with Franklin's 

Answer. 1753 171 

169. Physical and Meteorological Observations, Conjectures, and 

Suppositions. 1753 175 



170- Meteorological Observations. November, 1753 . ^86 

171- To William Smith. November 27, 1753 . . .' l8g 
172. To Cadwallader Golden. December 6, 1753 . IQO 

173- To James Bowdoin. December 13, 1753 . ,lj 

174- To Peter Collinson. April 1 8, 1754 . 

175- To William Strahan. April 18, 1754 . 

176. Papers relating to a Plan of Union of the Colonies Tune 


177- To Cadwallader Golden. August 30, 1754 . . 

178. To Richard Peters. September 17, 1754 . 23O 

179- Three Letters to Governor Shirley. December 17, 18, 22, 

'754 2 

*to. To Peter Collinson. December 29, 1754 ... 2 ^ 

To James Parker. March i, 1755 243 


185. To James Wright. June 26, 1755 

+ ** \- 1 i 1 , 1 / V W f 

182. To Miss Catherine Ray. March 4, 1755 24? 

183. Electrical Experiments. March 14, 1755 - .' 247 

184. To John Lining. March 1 8, 1755 

1 86. To Miss Susanna Wright. [June] 1755 261 

187. To Peter Collinson. June 26, 1755 2(5 , 

188. To M. Dalibard. June 29, 1755 . 260" 

189. To James Wright. July 3, 1755 . \ ^ 

190. To Peter Collinson. August 25, 1755 27 - 
191- To Peter Collinson. August 27, 1755 276 
192. To Jared Eliot. August 31, 1755 . ' 

193- To Jared Eliot. September i, 1755 - - 281 

194- To Miss Catherine Ray. September u, 1755 282 

195- To John Hancock. September n, 1755 28c 
196. To William Strahan. October 7, 1755 2 g 
197- To Miss Catherine Ray. October 16, 1755 

198. To [Sir] William Johnson. October 16, 1755 280 

199. To Colonel Hunter. October 16, 

ber] 1755 


200. To William Shirley. October 23, 1755 

201. To Richard Patridge. October 25, 1755 . 

02. Plan for saving One Hundred Thousand Pounds. [Octo- 

203. To James Read. November 2, 1755 . 

204. An Act for the better ordering and regulating such as are 

willing and desirous to be united for military purposes 
m Pensylvania. November 25, 1755 . . 2 


205. To William Strahan. November 27, 1755 . . . . 302 

206. To William Parsons. December 5, 1755 . . . . 304 

207. To William Parsons. December 15, 1755 .... 306 

208. A Dialogue between X, Y, and Z concerning the Present 

State of Affairs in Pensylvania. December, 1755 . . 307 

209. To Mrs. Deborah Franklin. December 27, 1755 . . 320 

210. To Captain Vanetta. January 12, 1756 . . . .321 

211. To Mrs. Deborah Franklin. January 15, 1756 . . . 323 

212. To Mrs. Deborah Franklin. January 25, 1756 . . . 324 

213. To Robert Hunter Morris, Governor of Pennsylvania. 

January 26, 1756 . . 325 

214. To Mrs. Deborah Franklin. January 30, 1756 . . . 326 

215. To Mrs. Deborah Franklin. January 31, 1756 . . . 327 

216. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. February 12, 1756 .... 328 

217. To Miss E. Hubbard. February 23, 1756 . . . . 329 

218. To Timothy Horsefield. March i, 1756 .... 330 

219. To Mrs. Deborah Franklin. March 21, 1756 . . .331 

220. To Mrs. Deborah Franklin. March 30, 1756 . . . 332 

221. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. June 28, 1756 .... 333 

222. To William Parsons. June 28, 1756 336 

223. To William Strahan. July 2, 1756 337 

224. To Rev. George Whitefield. July 2, 1756 . . . . 338 

225. To William Strahan. July 27, 1756 340 

226. To Thomas Pownall. August 19, 1756 . . . .341 

227. To George Washington. August 19, 1756 . . . 343 

228. To Miss Catherine Ray. August 26, 1756 .... 344 

229. To Peter Collinson. November 5, 1756 . . . -345 

230. To Mrs. Deborah Franklin. November 13, 1756 . . 350 

231. To Peter Collinson. November 22, 1756 . . . . 351 

232. To Peter Collinson. December 19, 1756 .... 352 

233. To Edward and Jane Mecom. December 30, 1756 . . 356 

234. To William Strahan. December 31, 1756 .... 357 

235. Plan for settling two Western Counties in North America, 

with Reasons for the Plan. 1756 [1754] . . . 358 

236. To Peter Collinson. January 31, 1757 . . . 366 

237. To William Strahan. January 31, 1757 . . . . 366 

238. To Robert Charles. February i, 1757 .... 367 

239. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. February 21, 1757 .... 369 

240. Report of the Committee of Aggrievances of the Assembly 

of Pennsylvania. February 22, 1757 .... 370 



241. To William Parsons. February 22, 1757 .... 377 

242. To Miss Catherine Ray. March 3, 1757 .... 378 

243. To Mrs. Deborah Franklin. April 5, 1757 . . . 378 

244. To Samuel Hazard. April n, 1757 379 

245. To Dr. Alexander Garden. April 14, 1757 . . .381 

246. To Colonel Henry Bouquet. April 14, 1757 . . . 382 

247. To John Lining. April 14, 1757 383 

248. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. April 19, 1757 . . . .391 

249. To Mrs. Deborah Franklin. April 29, 1757 . . . 392 

250. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. May 21, 1757 .... 393 

251. To Mrs. Deborah Franklin. May 27, 1757 . . -395 

252. To Isaac N orris. May 30, 1757 397 

253. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. May 30, 1757 .... 402 

254. To Mrs. Deborah Franklin. June 2, 1757 . . . . 405 

255. A Striking Sun Dial . 406 

256. The Way to Wealth (Preface to Poor Richard Improved), 

1758. July 7, 1757 - 407 

257. To Mrs. Deborah Franklin. July 27, 1757 . . 419 

258. To Mrs. Deborah Franklin. November 22, 1757 . . 419 

259. To [Sir] John Pringle. December 21, 1757 . . .425 

260. To [Sir] John Pringle. January 6, 1758 .... 427 

261. To Mrs. Deborah Franklin. January 14, 1758 . . . 428 

262. To Mrs. Deborah Franklin. January 21, 1758 . . . 429 

263. To Mrs. Deborah Franklin. February 19, 1758 . . . 430 

264. To Thomas Hubbard. April 28, 1758 .... 435 

265. To Mrs. Deborah Franklin. June 10, 1758 . . . 438 

266. To the Speaker and Committee of the Pennsylvania Assem- 

bly. June 10, 1758 . 443 

267. To John Lining. June 17, 1758 446 

268. To Mrs. Deborah Franklin. September 6, 1758 . . 451 

269. To Isaac Morris. September 1 6, 1758 . . . 454 

270. To Hugh Roberts. September 16, 1758 . . 456 

271. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. September 1 6, 1758 . 458 

272. To James Bowdoin. December 2, 1758 .... 461 

273. To Israel Pemberton. March 19, 1759 .... 470 

274. To David Hall. April 8, 1759 . . . 473 

275. To Miss Mary Stevenson. May 4, 1759 . . 478 

276. To Dr. William Heberden. June 7, 1759 .... 479 

277. To James Wright. July 9, 1759 4 8 3 


A. P. S American Philosophical Society. 

B. M British Museum. 

B. N Bibliotheque Nationale. 

D. S. W Department of State, Washington. 

H Harvard University. 

L. C Library of Congress. 

L. L. Lenox Library. 

Lans. . Lansdowne House. 

M. H. S Massachusetts Historical Society. 

P. C Private Collection. 

P. H. S Pennsylvania Historical Society. 

P. R. O Public Record Office. 

P. R. O. A. W. I Public Record Office : America and 

West Indies. 
P. A. E. E. U Paris Departement des Affaires 

Etrangeres, Etats-Unis. 

U. of P University of Pennsylvania. 

Y Yale University. 

B Bigelow. 

F Benjamin Franklin. 

S Sparks. 

V Benjamin Vaughan. 

W. T. F W. T. Franklin. 

Franklin's Mss. exist in several forms. He made a rough draft of 
every letter that he wrote ; he then made a clean copy to send away, and 
often retained a letter-press copy. To indicate the state of the docu- 
ment, the following abbreviations are used: d. = draft, trans. = transcript, 
1. p. = letter-press copy. 

DEAK SiR, Philadelphia, February ,3, 17JO . 

I doubt not but those mountains, which you mention 
contain valuable mines, which time will discover. I know 

but one valuable copper mine in this country, which is 
that of Schuyler's in the Jerseys. This yields good copper 
and has turned out vast wealth to the owners. I was at 

last fall, but they were not then at work. The water 
is grown too hard for them, and they waited for a fire-engine 
from England to drain their pits. I suppose they will have 
that at work next summer; it costs them one thousand 
pounds sterling. 

Colonel John Schuyler, one of the owners, has a deer 
park five miles round, fenced with cedar logs, five logs 
high, w,th blocks of wood between. It contains a variefy 
land, high and low, woodland and clear. There are 
great many deer in it; and he expects in a few years to 
be able to k.ll two hundred head a year, which will be 
a very profitable thing. He has likewise six hundred acres 
of meadow all within bank. The mine is not far from 
Passa. Falls, which I went also to see. They are ve 

1 First printed by Sparky who obtained the letter from Mr T 

VOL. Ill 


curious; the water falls seventy feet perpendicularly, as we 
were told ; but we had nothing to measure with. 1 

It will be agreeable to you to hear that our subscrip- 
tion goes on with great success, and we suppose will exceed 
five thousand pounds of our currency. We have bought 
for the Academy the house that was built for itinerant 
preaching, which stands on a large lot of ground capable 
of receiving more buildings to lodge the scholars, if it should 
come to be a regular college. The house is one hundred 
feet long and seventy wide, built of brick, very strong, and 
sufficiently high for three lofty stories. 2 I suppose the 

1 " From hence [Passaic Falls] I returned, and in my way crossed over the 
river to colonel John Schuyler's copper-mines, where there is a very rich vein 
of ore, and a 6re-engine erected upon common principles. 

" After this I went down two miles farther to the park and gardens of this 
gentleman's brother, colonel Peter Schuyler. In the gardens is a very large 
collection of citrons, oranges, limes, lemons, balsams of Peru, aloes, pome- 
granates, and other tropical plants ; and in the park I saw several American 
and English deer, and three or four elks or moose-deer." "Travels through 
the Middle Settlements in North America in the years 1 759 and 1 760. By the 
Rev. Andrew Burnaby, London 1798, edition the Third." ED. 


Salem, Novemb. 20. 1 740 

According to my Promise, I now snatch a few Moments to send you a short 
Account of the House lately erected at Philadelphia. I was pleasingly sur- 
prized at the Sight of it. It is 100 Feet long, and 70 Feet wide, and now 
just ready to be covered. The Footsteps of Providence have been very dis- 
cernable both in the Foundation and Superstructure. GOD must have the 
sole Glory. As 1 am chosen one of the Trustees, and have promised to pro- 
cure a Master and Mistress for the first Scholars, I think it my Duty to make 
what Interest I can towards carrying on so good a Work. The House is 
intended for Publick Worship, and a Charity School : None but orthodox ex- 
perimental Ministers are to preach in it, and such are to have free Liberty, 
of whatever Denomination. I know you are ready to every good Work ; if 
you can get any Subscription for this Purpose you will do well. The Man- 


building did not cost less than two thousand pounds; but 
bought it for seven hundred and seventy-five pounds 
eighteen shillings, eleven pence, and three farthings; though 

t wJl cost us three and perhaps four hundred more to make 
the partitions and floors, and fit up the rooms. I send you 
enclosed a copy of our present constitutions; but we expect 
i charter from our Proprietaries this summer, when they 

iay probably receive considerable alterations. The paper 
admonishes me that it is time to conclude. 
I am, Sir, 

Your obliged humble servant, 

HONOURED MOTHER, Pld* April , 2 . , 7SO 

We received your kind Utter of the 2d Instant, and we 
are glad to hear you still enjoy such a Measure of Health 
notwithstanding y our grea t Age. We read your Writing 
very easily. I never met with a Word in your Letters 
but what I could readily understand; for, tho' the Hand 
is not always the best, the Sense makes everv thing plain 
*y Leg, which you inquire after, is now quite well. I 

Your affectionate Friend and Servant 


From The Pen , December 


shall keep those Servants; but the Man not in my own 
house. I have hired him out to the Man, that takes care 
of my Dutch Printing- Office, who agrees to keep him in Vic- 
tuals and Clothes, and to pay me a Dollar a Week for his 
Work. His wife, since that Affair, behaves exceeding well; 
but we conclude to sell them both the first good Opportunity, 
for we do not like Negro Servants. We got again about 

half what we lost. 

As to your Grandchildren, Will is now nineteen years 
of age, a tall proper Youth, and much of a Beau. He 
acquired a Habit of Idleness on the Expedition, 1 but begins 
of late to apply himself to Business, and I hope will become 
an industrious Man. He imagined his Father had got 
enough for him, but I have assured him that I intend to 
spend what little I have myself, if it please God that I live 
long enough; and, as he by no means wants Sense, he 
can see by my going on, that I am like to be as good as 

my Word. 

Sally grows a fine Girl, and is extreamly industrious 
with her Needle, and delights in her Book. She is of a 
most affectionate Temper, and perfectly dutiful and obliging 
to her Parents, and to all. Perhaps I flatter myself too 
much, but I have Hopes that she will prove an ingenious, 
sensible, notable, and worthy Woman, like her aunt Jenny. 
She goes now to the Dancing-School. 

For my own Part, at present, I pass my Time agreably 
enough. ' I enjoy, thro' Mercy, a tolerable Share of Health. 
I read a great deal, ride a little, do a little Business for 
myself, more for others, retire when I can, and go into 

i His son, William, had been an officer in the Pennsylvania forces raised 
for an expedition against Canada, in the year 1746. ED. 


Company when I please; so the Years roll round, and 
the last will come; when I would rather have it said, He 
lived Usefully, than He died Rich. 

Cousins Josiah and Sally are well, and I believe will 
do well, for they are an industrious saving young Couple ; 
but they want a little more Stock to go on smoothly with 
their Business. 

My Love to Brother and Sister Mecom, and their Chil- 
dren, and to all my Relations in general. I am your dutiful 


105. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 1 (P. c.) 

Philadelphia, June 2, 1750. 

DEAR SIR : The person from whom you had the power 
of attorney to receive a legacy, was born in Holland, and 
at first called AleUa Crell; but not being christened when 
the family came to live among the English in America, 
she was baptized by the name of Mary. This change of 
name probably might be unknown to the testator, as it 
happened in Carolina, and so the legacy might be left her 
by her first name Aletta. She has wrote it on a piece of 
paper, which I enclose, and desires you would take the 
trouble of acquainting the gentleman with these particulars, 
which she thinks may induce him to pay the money. 

I am glad to understand by the papers that 'the Parlia- 
ment has provided for paying off the debts due on the Canada 
expedition. I suppose my son's pay is now in your hands. 

> First Printed by Mr. Bigelow, Vol. X, p. 255. The original was then in 
the possession of Mr. W. R. Benjamin. ED. 


I am willing to allow 6 per cent, (the rate of interest here), 
for the delay; or more, if the disappointment has been a 
greater loss to you. I hope the 50 bill I lately sent you is 
come to hand and paid. 

The description you give of the company and manner 
of living in Scotland would almost tempt one to remove 
thither. Your sentiments of the general foible of mankind 
in the pursuit of wealth to no end are expressed in a manner 
that gave me great pleasure in reading. They are extremely 
just; at least they are perfectly agreeable to mine. But 
London citizens, they say, are ambitious of what they call 
dying worth a great sum. The very notion seems to me 
absurd ; and just the same as if a man should run in debt 
for 1,000 superfluities, to the end that when he should be 
stripped of all, and imprisoned by his creditors, it might 
be said, he broke worth a great sum. I imagine that what 
we have above what we can use, is not properly ours, though 
we possess it, and that the rich man who must die, was no 
more worth what he leaves, than the debtor who must pay. 

I am glad to hear so good a character of my son-in-law. 1 
Please to acquaint him that his spouse grows finely and 
will probably have an agreeable person. That with the 
best natural disposition in the world, she discovers daily the 
seeds and tokens of industry, economy, and, in short, of 
every female virtue, which her parents will endeavour to 
cultivate for him; and if the success answers their fond 
wishes, and expectations, she will, in the true sense of the 

1 Half seriously and half in jest Franklin sometimes referred in his letters 
to the prospective marriage of his daughter to Strahan's eldest son, William 
(1740-1781), who carried on a printing business for some years at Snow 
HilL ED. 


word, be worth a great deal of money, and consequently a 
great fortune. 

I suppose my wife writes to Mrs. Strahan. Our friend, 
Mr. Hall, is well, and manages perfectly to my satisfaction. 
I cannot tell how to accept your repeated thanks for services 
you think I have done to him, when I continually feel myself 
obliged to him, and to you for sending him. I sincerely 
wish all happiness to you and yours, and, am dear sir, your 
most obliged humble servant, 



Philadelphia, June 28, 1750. 

I wrote a line to you last post, and sent you some electrical 
observations and experiments. You formerly had those 
papers of mine, out of which something has been taken 
by Mr. Watson, 1 and inserted in the Transactions. If 
you have forgot the contents of those papers, I am afraid 
some things in that I last sent you will be hardly under- 
stood, as they depend on what went before. I send you 
herewith my essay towards a new hypothesis of the cause 
and effects of lightning, &c., of which you may remember 
some hints in my first electrical minutes. I sent this essay 
above a twelvemonth since to Dr. Mitchel in London, 

1 This letter was first published in The American Medical and Philosophical 
Register for January, 1812. It is here printed from a transcript in the Library 
of Congress. En. 

2 Mr. Watson (1715-1787) became Sir William Watson in 1786 He was 
a Doctor of Physic of the University of Halle. In 1741 he became a Fellow 

the Royal Society and contributed about sixty papers to the Philosophical 
I ransactions. ED. 


and have since heard nothing of it, which makes me doubt 
of its getting to hand. In some late experiments, I have 
not only frequently fired unwarmed spirits by the electrical 
stroke, but have even melted small quantities of copper, 
silver, and gold; and not only melted, but vitrified them, 
so as to incorporate them with common glass; and this 
without any sensible heat, which strengthens my supposition, 
that the melting of metals by lightning may be a cold fusion. 
Of these experiments I shall shortly write a particular 
account. I wrote to Mr. Collinson, on reading in the Trans- 
actions the accounts, from Italy and Germany, of giving 
purges, transferring odors, &c. with the electrical effluvia, 
that I was persuaded they were not true. He since informs 
me, that Abbe* Nollet, of Paris, who had tried the experiments 
without success, was lately at the pains to make a journey to 
Turin, Bologna, and Venice, to inquire into the facts, and 
see the experiments repeated, imagining they had there 
some knacks of operating that he was unacquainted with ; 
but, to his great disappointment, found little or no satis- 
faction; the gentlemen there having been too premature 
in publishing their imaginations and expectations for real 
experiments. Please to return me the papers when you have 
perused them. 

My good old friend, Mr. Logan, being about three months 
since struck with a palsy, continues speechless, though 
he knows people, and seems in some degree to retain his 
memory and understanding. I fear he will not recover. 
Mr. Kalm l is gone towards Canada again, and Mr. 

1 Peter Kalm, a Swedish naturalist (1715-1779). author of "Travels into 
North America ; containing its natural history, and a circumstantial account 
of its Plantations and Agriculture in general. ... By Peter Kalm, Professor 


Evans 1 is about to take a journey to Lake Erie, which he 
intends next week. Mr. Bartram continues well and hearty. 
I thank you for what you write concerning celestial observa- 
tions. We are going on with our building for the Academy, 
and propose to have an observatory on the top ; and, as we 
shall have a mathematical professor, I doubt not but we 
shall soon be able to send you some observations accurately 
I am, with great esteem and respect, &c. 


P. S. If you think it would be agreeable to Mr. Alexander, 1 
or any other friend in New York, to peruse these electrical 
papers, you may return them to me through his hands. 


w (p. H. s.) 


Astrology is one of the most ancient Sciences, had in 
high Esteem of old, by the Wise and Great. Formerly, no 
Prince would make War or Peace, nor any General fight 
a Battle, in short, no important Affair was undertaken 
without first consulting an Astrologer, who examined 
the Aspects and Configurations of the heavenly Bodies, and 

[at Abo]. Translated into English by John Reinhold Forster, F.A.S., Lon- 
don, 1771." ED. 

1 Lewis Evans, a surveyor in Pennsylvania, author of "Geographical, His- 
torical, Political, Philosophical, and Mechanical Essays, Phila. 1756," of some 
other tracts, and of a Map of the Middle Colonies. ED. 

2 James Alexander (1690-1756), an eminent lawyer and scholar, par- 
ticipated in the founding of the American Philosophical Society. ED. 


mark'd the lucky Hour. Now the noble Art (more Shame 
to the Age we live in !) is dwindled into Contempt ; the 
Great neglect us, Empires make Leagues, and Parliaments 
Laws, without advising with us; and scarce any other 
Use is made of our learned Labours, than to find the best 
Time of cutting Corns, or gelding Pigs, This Mischief 
we owe in a great Measure to ourselves : The ignorant Herd 
of Mankind, had they not been encouraged to it by some of 
us, would never have dared to depreciate our sacred Dictates ; 
but Urania has been betray'd by her own Sons; those 
whom she had favoured with the greatest Skill in her divine 
Art, the most eminent Astronomers among the Moderns, 
the Newtons, Halleys, and Whistons, have wantonly con- 
temn'd and abus'd her, contrary to the Light of their own 

Of these, only the last nam'd, Whiston, has liv'd to repent, 
and speak his Mind honestly. In his former Works he 
had treated Judiciary Astrology as a Chimera, and asserted, 
That not only the fixed Stars, but the Planets (Sun and Moon 
excepted) were at so immense a Distance, as to be incapable 
of any Influence on this Earth, and consequently nothing 
could be foretold from their Positions: but now in the 
Memoirs of his Life, 1 published 1 749, in the 82 d Year of his 
Age, he foretels, Page 607, the sudden Destruction of the 
Turkish Empire, and of the House of Austria, German 
Emperors, etc and Popes of Rome; the Restoration of the 
Jews, and Commencement of the Millennium; all by the 
Year 1766; and this not only from Scripture Prophecies; 
but (take his own Words) "From the remarkable astro- 

1 " Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Mr. William Whiston, written 
by himself, London : 1749," Vol. II, p. 607. ED. 


nomical Signals that are to Alarm Mankind of what is com- 
ing; viz. The Northern Lights since 1715; the six Comets 
at the Protestant Reformation in four Years, 1530, 1531, 
Z 533 J 534, compared with the seven Comets already seen 
in these last eleven Years, 1737, 1739, I?42 , I?43> I?44> 
1746 and 1748. From the great Annular Eclipse of the 
Sun, July 14, 1748, whose Center pass'd thro' all the four 
Monarchies, from Scotland- to the East Indies. From 
the Occupation of the Pleiades by the Moon, each periodical 
Month, after the Eclipse last July, for above three Years, 
visible to the whole Roman Empire; as there was a like 
Occultation of the Hyades from A. 590 to A. 595, for six 
Years foretold by Isaiah. From the Transit of Mercury 
over the Sun, April 25, 1753, which will be visible thro 1 
that Empire. From the Comet of A.D. 1456, 1531, 1607 
and 1682 which will appear again about 1757 ending, or 
1758 beginning, and will also be visible thro' that Empire. 
From the Transit of Venus over the Sun, May 26, 1761, 
which will be visible over the same Empire: And lastly 
from the annular Eclipse of the Sun, March n, 1764, which 
will be visible over the same Empire." From these Astro- 
nomical Signs he foretels these great Events, That within 16 
Years from this Time, " The Millennium or 1000 Years 
Reign of Christ shall begin, there shall be a new Heavens, 
a new Earth; there shall be no more an Infidel in 
Christendom, P age 398, nor a Gaming-Table at Tunbridge !" 
-When these Predictions are accomplished, what glorious 
Proofs they will be of the Truth of our Art? And if they 
happen to fail, there is no doubt but so profound an Astron- 
omer as Mr. Whiston, will be able to see other Signs in the 
Heavens, foreshowing that the Conversion of Infidels was 


to be postponed, and the Millennium adjourn'd. After 
these great Things can any Man doubt our being capable 
of predicting a little Rain or Sun-shine? 

Reader, Farewell, and make the best Use of your Years 
and your Almanacks, for you see, that according to Whiston, 
you may have at most, but sixteen more of them. 

Patowmack, July 30, 1750. 


Philadelphia, Aug. 9, 1750. 

REV. SIR, At my return home I found your favour of 
June the 28th, with the Bishop of Cloyne's 3 letter inclosed, 
which I will take care of, and beg leave to keep a little longer. 

Mr. Francis, our Attorney General, who was with me at 
your house, from the conversation then had with you, and 
reading some of your pieces, has conceived an esteem for 
you equal to mine. The character we have given of you 
to the other trustees, and the sight of your letters relating to 
the academy, has made them very desirous of engaging you 
in that design, as a person whose experience and judgment 
would be of great use in forming rules and establishing good 
methods in the beginning, and whose name for learning would 
give it a reputation. We only lament, that in the infant 
state of our funds, we cannot make you an offer equal to 
your merit. But as the view of being useful has most weight 
with generous and benevolent minds, and in this affair you 

1 From " Life and Correspondence of Samuel Johnson, D.D.," by E. Edwards 
Beardsley, 1874, p. 157. ED. 

2 George Berkeley. ED. 

1750] TO SAMUEL JOHNSON, D.D. , 3 

may do great service not only to the present but to future 
generations, I flatter myself sometimes that if you were here, 
and saw things as they are, and conversed a little with our 
people, you might be prevailed with to remove. I would 
therefore earnestly press you to make us a visit as soon as 
you conveniently can; and in the mean time let me represent 
to you some of the circumstances as they appear to me. 

i. The Trustees of the Academy are applying for a charter, 
which will give an opportunity for improving and modeling 
our Constitution in such a manner as, when we have your 
advice, shall appear best. I suppose we shall have power 
to form a regular college. 

^ 2. If you would undertake the management of the English 
Education, I am satisfied the trustees would, on your ac- 
count, make the salary 100 sterling, (they have already 
voted 150 currency which is not far from it), and pay the 
charge of your removal. Your son might also be employed 
as tutor at 60 or perhaps 70 per annum. 

3- It has been long observed, that our church is not suffi- 
cient to accommodate near the number of people who would 
willingly have seats there. The buildings increase very fast 
towards the south end of the town, and many of the princi- 
pal merchants now live there; which being at a considerable 
distance from the present church, people begin to talk much 
of building another, and ground has been offered as a gift 
for that purpose. The Trustees of the Academy are three 
fourths of them members of the Church of England, and the 
est men of moderate principles. They have reserved in 
the building a large hall for occasional preaching, public 
lectures, orations, etc.; it is 70 feet by 60, furnished with a 
handsome pulpit, seats, etc. In this Mr. Tennent collected 


his congregation who are now building him a meeting house. 
In the same place, by giving now and then a lecture, you 
might, with equal ease, collect a congregation that would in 
a short time build you a church, if it should be agreeable 
to you. 

In the mean time, I imagine you will receive something 
considerable yearly, arising from marriages and christen- 
ings in the best families, etc., not to mention presents that are 
not unfrequent from a wealthy people to a minister they like ; 
and though the whole may not amount to more than a due 
support, yet I think it will be a comfortable one. And when 
you are well settled in a church of your own, your son may 
be qualified by years and experience to succeed you in the 
Academy; or if you rather choose to continue in the Acad- 
emy, your son might probably be fixed in the Church. 

These are my private sentiments which I have com- 
municated only to Mr. Francis, who entirely agrees with me. 
I acquainted the trustees that I would write to you, but could 
give them no dependence that you would be prevailed on 
to remove. They will, however, treat with no other till I 
have your answer. 

You will see by our newspaper, which I inclose, that the 
Corporation of this city have voted 300 down and 100 
a year out of their revenues to the Trustees of the Academy. 
As they are a perpetual body, choosing their own successors, 
and not so subject to be changed by the caprice of a governor 
or of the people, and as 18 of the members (some of the most 
leading) are of the trustees, we look on this donation to be 
as good as so much real estate; being confident it will be 
continued as long as it is well applied, and even increased, 
if there should be occasion. We have now near 5,000 

1750] TO SAMUEL JOHNSON, D.D. , 5 

subscribed, and expect some considerable sums besides 
may be procured from the merchants of London trading 
hither. And as we are in the centre of the Colonies, a 
healthy place, with plenty of provisions, we suppose a good 
Academy here may draw numbers of youths for education 
from the neighbouring Colonies, and even from the West 

I will shortly print proposals for publishing your pieces 

by subscription, and disperse them among my friends along 

the continent. My compliments to Mrs. Johnson and 

your son; and Mr. and Mrs. Walker your good neighbours. 

I am, with great esteem and respect, Sir, 

Your most humble servant, 

P. S. There are some other things best treated of 
when we have the pleasure of seeing you. It begins now 
to be pleasant travelling. I wish you would conclude to 
visit us in the next month at farthest. Whether the journey 
produce the effect we desire or not, it shall be no expense 
to you. 



Philadelphia, Aug. 23, 1750. 


We received your favour of the i6th inst. Mr. Pe- 
ters 2 will hardly have time to write to you per this post, 
and I must be short. Mr. Francis spent the last evening 
with me, and we were all glad to hear, that you seriously 
meditate a visit after the middle of next month, and that 
you will inform us by a line when to expect you. We drank 
your health and Mrs. Johnson's, remembering your kind 
entertainment of us at Stratford. 

I think with you, that nothing is of more importance for 
the public weal, than to form and train up youth in wisdom 
and virtue. Wise and good men are, in my opinion, the 
strength of a state far more so than riches or arms, which, 
under the management of Ignorance and Wickedness, often 

1 This letter was first printed in the PORT FOLIO, in August, 1809. The 
following notice is there prefixed to it. "The following very curious letter, 
has, we believe, never before been published. It is addressed by Dr. Franklin 
to Dr. Samuel Johnson the first President of King's (now Columbia) College, 
New York, the venerable father of the Episcopal Church of Connecticut, and 
the apostle of sound learning and elegant literature in New England. It ap- 
pears to have been written at the time of the first establishment of the College 
of Philadelphia, an offer of the presidency of which institution had been 
offered to Dr. Johnson. This offer he declined on account of a similar and 
more advantageous offer from New York. A very well written life of Dr. 
Johnson, by Dr. Chandler, was published some years ago [1805], containing, 
besides many very curious anecdotes of the history and early literature of our 
country, a very interesting series of correspondence between Dr. Johnson and 
Archbishop Seeker, and Bishops Lowth, Berkely, and Gibson, and several 
other very distinguished dignitaries of the Church of England." ED. 

2 Richard Peters (1704-1775) became President of the Board of Trustees 
of the Academy (now The University of Pennsylvania) in 1756. ED. 


draw on destruction, instead of providing for the safety of 
a people. And though the culture bestowed on Jn^hould 
be successful only with a M yet the influence of those few 
and the semce in their power may be very great. Even 
smgle woman, that was wise, by her wisdl* saved a ^y 
thank also, that general virtue is more probablv to be 
expected and obtained from the education of youth ^ 
rom the ^^ of adult ^ * ^ *- 

of the nund being, like diseases of the body, more e^v 
prevented than cured. I think, moreover> 

whom o '" - <*< e on 

whom hey are bestowed, whenever a way is opened for the 
use of them as strongly caUed u if he he ^ ^ 

no s t f:::t *^ te ^ affectcd ^ t ts 

ot to stand , competition with the general good; especially 
as ,t cannot be much affected, he being old" and rich and 

" d ' ^ ieam ws 

t B 

' Post. But, whatever influence they might have 
your determinations about removing, they need havl 
one on your mtention of visiting; and if you favour us w^h 

he y lslt It i. not ecessary that you sh J d ^ 

to him to Ieam his dispositions about your removal , 
you w,U see him, and when we are al, t^eJ Ise 


VOL. Ill c 


may be better settled in conversation than by letters at a 

Your tenderness of the Church's peace is truly laudable; 
but, methinks, to build a new church in a growing place 
is not properly dividing but multiplying; and will really 
be the means of increasing the number of those, who worship 
God in that way. Many who cannot now be accommo- 
dated in the church, go to other places, or stay at home; 
and if we had another church, many who go to other places 
or stay at home, would go to church. I suppose the interest 
of the church has been far from suffering in Boston by the 
building of two churches there in my memory. I had for 
several years nailed against the wall of my house a pigeon- 
box, that would hold six pair; and, though they bred as fast 
as my neighbours' pigeons, I never had more than six pair, 
the old and strong driving out the young and weak, and 
obliging them to seek new habitations. At length I put up 
an additional box with apartments for entertaining twelve 
pair more; and it was soon filled with inhabitants, by the 
overflowing of my first box, and of others in the neighbour- 
hood. This I take to be a parallel case with the building 
a new church here. 

Your years I think are not so many as to be an objection 
of any weight, especially considering the vigour of your 
constitution. For the smallpox, if it should spread here, 
you might inoculate with great probability of safety; and I 
think that distemper generally more favourable here than 
farther northward. Your objection about the politeness of 
Philadelphia, and your imagined rusticity, is mere compli- 
ment ; and your diffidence of yourself absolutely groundless. 

My humble respects, if you please, to your brethren at 

1750] TO SAMUEL JOHNSON", D.D. 19 

the Commencement. I hope they will advise you to what 
is most for the good of the whole, and then I think they 
will advise you to remove hither. Please to tender my 
best respects and service to Mrs. Johnson and your son. 
I am, dear Sir, your obliged and affectionate humble servant, 



Philadelphia, September 13, 1750. 

DEAR SIR, I am sorry to hear of your illness. If you 
have not been used to the fever-and-ague let me give you 
one caution. Don't imagine yourself thoroughly cured, 
and so omit the use of the bark too soon. Remember to 
take the preventing doses faithfully. If you were to con- 
tinue taking a dose or two every day for two or three weeks 
after the fits have left you, 'twould not be amiss. If you take 
the powder mixed quick in a tea-cup of milk, 'tis no way 
disagreeable, but looks and even tastes like chocolate. 
'Tis an old saying: That an ounce of prevention is worth 
a pound of cure, and certainly a true one, with regard 
to the bark; a little of which will do more in preventing 
the fits than a great deal in removing them. 

But if your health would permit I should not expect the 
pleasure of seeing you soon. The smallpox spreads apace, 
and is now in all quarters; yet as we have only children to 
have it, and the Doctors inoculate apace, I believe they will 
soon drive it through the town; so that you may possibly 
visit us with safety in the spring. In the mean time we should 

1 From " Life and Correspondence of Samuel Johnson, D.D.," by E. Edwards 
Beardslcy, 1874, p. 165. ED. 


be glad to know the result you came to after consulting your 
brethren at the Commencement. Messrs. Peters and 
Francis have directed me on all occasions to present their 
compliments to you. Please to acquaint me if you propose 
to make any considerable additions to the "Ethics," that 
I may be able in the proposals to compute the bigness of the 
I am, with sincere esteem and respect, dear Sir, 

Your most obliged humble servant, 


Inclosed I return the good Bishop's 1 letter with thanks. 

in. TO SAMUEL JOHNSON, D.D.' (p. c.) 

Philad* Oct. 25. 1750. 

REV. Sm, Enclosed I return your Noetica as you de- 
sired, that you may add or alter what you think fit before 
it goes to the Press, in which I should be glad you would be 
as speedy as conveniently you can. 

Since your Way to us is at present blocked up by the 
Spreading of the Small Pox among us, which (if you do not 
incline to inoculate) may be a perpetual Bar to your settling 
here, as we have it every 4 or 5 years, we must endeavor to 
make ourselves Amends, by obtaining as much of your 
Advice as we can at a Distance. The Trustees have put it 
on me, as I first mov'd the English Education here, to sketch 
out the idea of the English School; for which I am indeed 

1 A letter to Dr. Johnson from Bishop Berkeley. ED. 

2 Owned by Mr. Adrian H. Joline, of New York, and printed by him in 
u Meditations of an Autograph Collector," Harper and Brothers, 1902. 


very unfit, having neither been educated myself (except as 
a Tradesman) nor ever concerned in educating others. 
However, I have done something towards it, which I now 
enclose to you ; and beg you would either amend it, or (which 
perhaps will be easier to do) give us a Compleat Scheme 
of your own. I suppose the Boys in this School to be gener- 
ally between 8 years of Age and 16, and that after they leave 
it they may have time to learn Merchandizing, Husbandry, 
or any other Profession (that does not need the learned 
Languages) by which they are to be supported thro' Life. 
If they have Estates already provided for them, they may 
continue longer, and make a farther Progress in Philosophy, 
&c. Mr. Francis and Mr. Peters are both well and desire 
always to be remembered to you. I have thoughts of taking 
a Ride to Elizabeth Town to see the Gentleman you recom- 
mend. I am with great Respect, Sir, 

Your obliged hum. servant 



IT is expected that every Scholar to be admitted into 
this School, be at least able to pronounce and divide the 
Syllables in Reading, and to write a legible Hand. None 
to be received that are under Years of Age. 

1 Printed as an appendix to " A Sermon on Education wherein some 
Account is given of the Academy, established in the City of Philadelphia. 
Preach'd at the Opening thereof, on the Seventh Day of January, 1750-1. 
By the Reverend Mr. Richard Peters. Philadelphia : Printed and Sold by 
B. Franklin, and D. Hall, at the Post- Office. MDCCLI." 


Let the first Class learn the English Grammar Rules, and 
at the same time let particular Care be taken to improve 
them in Orthography. Perhaps the latter is best done by 
Pairing the Scholars, two of those nearest equal in their 
Spelling to be put together; let these strive for Victory, 
each propounding Ten Words every Day to the other to 
be spelt. He that spells truly most of the other's Words, 
is Victor for that Day; he that is Victor most Days in a 
Month, to obtain a Prize, a pretty neat Book of some Kind 
useful in their future Studies. This Method fixes the Atten- 
tion of Children extreamly to the Orthography of Words, 
and makes them good Spellers very early. 'Tis a Shame 
for a Man to be so ignorant of this little Art, in his own 
Language, as to be perpetually confounding Words of like 
Sound and different Significations; the Consciousness of 
which Defect, makes some Men, otherwise of good Learning 
and Understanding, averse to Writing even a common Letter. 

Let the Pieces read by the Scholars in this Class be short, 
such as CroxalVs Fables, and little Stories. In giving the 
Lesson, let it be read to them ; let the Meaning of the diffi- 
cult Words in it be explained to them, and let them con it over 
by themselves before they are called to read to the Master, 
or Usher; who is to take particular Care that they do not 
read too fast, and that they duly observe the Stops and 
Pauses. A Vocabulary of the most usual difficult Words 
might be formed for their Use, with Explanations; and 
they might daily get a few of those Words and Explana- 
tions by Heart, which would a little exercise their Memories ; 
or at least they might write a Number of them in a small 


Book for the Purpose, which would help to fix the Meaning 
of those Words in their Minds, and at the same Time furnish 
every one with a little Dictionary for his future Use. 


to be taught Reading with Attention, and with proper Modu- 
lations of the Voice, according to the Sentiments and Subject. 

Some short Pieces, not exceeding the Length of a Spec- 
tator, to be given this Class as Lessons (and some of the 
easier Spectators would be very suitable for the Purpose.) 
These Lessons might be given over Night as Tasks, the 
Scholars to study them against the Morning. Let it then 
be required of them to give an Account, first of the Parts 
of Speech, and Construction of one or two Sentences; this 
will oblige them to recur frequently to their Grammar, and 
fix its principal Rules in their Memory. Next of the In- 
tention of the Writer, or the Scope of the Piece; the Mean- 
ing of each Sentence, and of every uncommon Word. This 
would early acquaint them with the Meaning and Force 
of Words, and give them that most necessary Habit, of 
Reading with Attention. 

The Master then to read the Piece with the proper Modu- 
lations of Voice, due Emphasis, and suitable Action, where 
Action is required; and put the Youth on imitating his 

Where the Author has us'd an Expression not the best, 
let it be pointed out; and let his Beauties be particularly 
remarked to the Youth. 

Let the Lessons for Reading be varied, that the Youth 
may be made acquainted with good Stiles of all Kinds 
in Prose and Verse, and the proper Manner of reading each 


Kind. Sometimes a well-told Story, a Piece of a Sermon, 
a General's Speech to his Soldiers, a Speech in a Tragedy, 
some Part of a Comedy, an Ode, a Satyr, a Letter, Blank 
Verse, Hudibrastick, Heroic, &*c. But let such Lessons 
for Reading be chosen, as contain some useful Instruction, 
whereby the Understandings or Morals of the Youth, may 
at the same Time be improved. 

It is required that they should first study and understand 
the Lessons, before they are put upon reading them properly, 
to which End each Boy should have an English Dictionary, to 
help him over Difficulties. When our Boys read English 
to us, we are apt to imagine they understand what they read, 
because we do, and because 'tis their Mother Tongue. But 
they often read as Parrots speak, knowing little or nothing 
of the Meaning. And it is impossible a Reader should give 
the due Modulation to his Voice, and pronounce properly, 
unless his Understanding goes before his Tongue, and 
makes him Master of the Sentiment. Accustoming Boys 
to read aloud what they do not first understand, is the Cause 
of those even set Tones so common among Readers, which 
when they have once got a Habit of using, they find so 
difficult to correct: By which Means, among Fifty Readers, 
we scarcely find a good One. For want of good Reading, 
Pieces published with a View to influence the Minds of Men 
for their own or the publick Benefit, lose Half their Force. 
Were there but one good Reader in a Neighbourhood, a 
publick Orator might be heard throughout a Nation with 
the same Advantages, and have the same Effect on his 
Audience, as if they stood within the Reach of his Voice. 



to be taught Speaking properly and gracefully, which is near 
of Kin to good Reading, and naturally follows it in the Studies 
of Youth. Let the Scholars of this Class begin with learn- 
ing the Elements of Rhetoric from some short System, so 
as to be able to give an Account of the most usual Tropes 
and Figures. Let all their bad Habits of Speaking, all 
Offences against good Grammar, all corrupt or foreign 
Accents, and all improper Phrases, be pointed out to them. 
Short Speeches from the Roman, or other History, or from 
our Parliamentary Debates, might be got by heart, and 
delivered with the proper Action, 6r*c. Speeches and Scenes 
in our best Tragedies and Comedies (avoiding every Thing 
that could injure the Morals of Youth) might likewise be 
got by Rote, and the Boys exercis'd in delivering or acting 
them; great Care being taken to form their Manner after 
the truest Models. 

For their farther Improvement, and a little to vary their 
Studies, let them now begin to read History, after having 
got by Heart a short Table of the principal Epochas in 
Chronology. They may begin with Rollings Antient and 
Roman Histories, and proceed at proper Hours as they go 
thro' the subsequent Classes, with the best Histories of our 
own Nation and Colonies. Let Emulation be excited among 
the Boys by giving, Weekly, little Prizes, or other small 
Encouragements to those who are able to give the best 
Account of what they have read, as to Times, Places, Names 
of Persons, &c. This will make them read with Attention, 
and imprint the History well in their Memories. In 
remarking on the History, the Master will have fine Oppor- 


tunities of instilling Instruction of various Kinds, and im- 
proving the Morals as well as the Understandings of Youth. 
The Natural and Mechanic History contain'd in the 
Spectacle de la Nature, might also be begun in this Class, 
and continued thro' the subsequent Classes by other Books 
of the same Kind: For next to the Knowledge of Duty, 
this Kind of Knowledge is certainly the most useful, as well 
as the most entertaining. The Merchant may thereby be 
enabled better to understand many Commodities in Trade; 
the Handicraftsman to improve his Business by new Instru- 
ments, Mixtures and Materials; and frequently Hints are 
given of new Manufactures, or new Methods of improving 
Land, that may be set on foot greatly to the Advantage of 
a Country. 


to be taught Composition. Writing one's own Language 
well, is the next necessary Accomplishment after good 
Speaking. 'Tis the Writing-Master's Business to take 
Care that the Boys make fair Characters, and place them 
straight and even in the Lines : But to form their Stile, and 
even to take Care that the Stops and Capitals are properly 
disposed, is the Part of the English Master. The Boys 
should be put on Writing Letters to each other on any com- 
mon Occurrences, and on various Subjects, imaginary Busi- 
ness, &c., containing little Stories, Accounts of their late 
Reading, what Parts of Authors please them, and why; 
Letters of Congratulation, of Compliment, of Request, of 
Thanks, of Recommendation, of Admonition, of Consola- 
tion, of Expostulation, Excuse, &c. In these they should 
be taught to express themselves clearly, concisely, and 
naturally, without affected Words or high-flown Phrases. 


All their Letters to pass through the Master's Hand, who 
is to point out the Faults, advise the Corrections, and com- 
mend what he finds right. Some of the best Letters pub- 
lished in our own Language, as Sir William Temple's, those 
of Pope, and his Friends, and some others, might be set before 
the Youth as Models, their Beauties pointed out and explained 
by the Master, the Letters themselves transcribe by the 

Dr. Johnson's Ethices Elemenla, or First Principles of 
Morality, may now be read by the Scholars, and explain'd 
by the Master, to lay a solid Foundation of Virtue and 
Piety in their Minds. And as this Class continues the 
Reading of History, let them now at proper Hours receive 
some farther Instruction in Chronology, and in that Part 
of Geography (from the Mathematical Master), which is 
necessary to understand the Maps and Globes. They should 
also be acquainted with the modern Names of the Places 
they find mention'd in antient Writers. The Exercises of 
good Reading, and proper Speaking, still continued at 
suitable Times. 


To improve the Youth in Composition, they may now, 
besides continuing to write Letters, begin to write little 
Essays in Prose, and sometimes in Verse, not to make them 
Poets, but for this Reason, that nothing acquaints a Lad 
so speedily with Variety of Expression, as the Necessity of 
finding such Words and Phrases as will suit with the Measure, 
Sound, and Rhime of Verse, and at the same time well ex- 
press the Sentiment. These Essays should all pass under 
the Master's Eye, who will point out their Faults, and put 
the Writer on correcting them. Where the Judgment is 


not ripe enough for forming new Essays, let the Sentiments 
of a Spectator be given, and required to be cloath'd in a 
Scholar's own Words; or the Circumstances of some good 
Story, the Scholar to find Expression. Let them be put 
sometimes on abridging a Paragraph of a diffuse Author, 
sometimes on dilating or amplifying what is wrote more 
closely. And now let Dr. Johnson's Noetica, or First 
Principles of Human Knowledge, containing a Logic, or 
Art of Reasoning, &c. be read by the Youth, and the Diffi- 
culties that may occur to them be explained by the Master. 
The Reading of History, and the Exercises of good Reading 
and just Speaking, still continued. 


In this Class, besides continuing the Studies of the pre- 
ceding, in History, Rhetoric, Logic, Moral and Natural 
Philosophy, the best English Authors may be read and ex- 
plain'd ; as Tillotson, Milton, Locke, Addison, Pope, Swift, 
the higher Papers in the Spectator and Guardian, the best 
Translations of Homer, Virgil, and Horace, of Telemachus, 
Travels oj Cyrus, &c. 

Once a Year let there be publick Exercises in the Hall, 
the Trustees and Citizens present. Then let fine gilt Books 
be given as Prizes to such Boys as distinguish themselves 
and excel the others in any Branch of Learning, making 
three Degrees of Comparison; giving the best Prize to him 
that performs best; a less valuable One to him that comes 
up next to the best ; and another to the third. Commenda- 
tions, Encouragement and Advice to the rest; keeping up 
their Hopes, that by Industry they may excel another Time. 
The Names of those that obtain the Prizes to be yearly 
printed in a List. 


The Hours of each Day are to be divided and dispos'd 
in such a Manner, as that some Classes may be with the 
Writing-Master, improving their Hands, others with the 
Mathematical Master, learning Arithmetick, Accompts, Ge- 
ography, Use of the Globes, Drawing, Mechanicks, &c. ; 
while the rest are in the English School, under the English 
Master's Care. 

Thus instructed, Youth will come out of this School 
fitted for learning any Business, Calling or Profession, 
except such wherein Languages are required; and tho' 
unacquainted with any antient or foreign Tongue, they will 
be Masters of their own, which is of more immediate and 
general Use; and withal will have attain'd many other 
valuable Accomplishments; the Time usually spent in ac- 
quiring those Languages, often without Success, being here 
employ'd in laying such a Foundation of Knowledge and 
Ability, as, properly improved, may qualify them to pass 
thro' and execute the several Offices of civil Life, with 
Advantage and Reputation to themselves and Country. 

B. F. 1 

1 The following is a copy of the rough draft of Dr. Johnson's reply to 
Franklin regarding the " Idea of the English School." It is an interesting 
tribute that the learned and experienced pedagogue pays to the sagacity and 
wisdom of the " Tradesman." The draught is in the collection of Mr. Toline. 


** Ai I could not make a tour to Philadelphia this Fall I have lately taken 
a Car'g ride to several parts of this Colony & being absent when yr kind letter 
arrived, this must be my apology for not answering last [illegible]. Nobody would 
imagine that the draught you have made for an English education was done 
by a Tradesman. But so it sometimes is, a True Genius will not content itself 
without entering more or less into almost everything, and of mastering many 
things more in spite of Fate it self. I cannot pretend to be qualified to criti- 
cize much on things of this kind having never had anything that could be 
called an Education myself, the most of what I did learn being of such a 



Philad., Oct. 25, 1750. 


I ought to have informed you sooner, that we got well 
home, and should have enquired after your Health, as we 
left you in the hands of a Fever. I beg you'd excuse the 
Delay, and desire you would remember in my favour the 
old saying, They who have much Business must have much 
Pardon. Whenever Mr. Francis and I meet of an Evening, 
we drink your Health, among our other New England 

cobweb kind that the best thing I could do with it was to forget it as fast 
as I could. So that I am free to say that I am not able to find any fault with 
your scheme much less to devise a better. So far from this that I can't but 
admire it as a most excellent Draught & particularly your contrivance to pro- 
mote [public ?]speaking &sundry observations on the advantages of good reading 
and speaking. The only thing I can think of that may meliorate what you have 
done is that as the business of your third class seems less than that of the 
others, & that you say nothing of Rhetoric and Oratory considered as an Art, 
perhaps you might have done well to prescribe in that year the learning of 
some system of Rhetoric so as to have a good notion of the Tropes & Figures. 
The best I know of is that of Blackwell on the Classics ; this therefore & 
the Port Royal art of Speaking . . . would be well thummed in that year. 
And . . . you might do well to mention Milton & Telemachus & the 
Travells of Cyrus with the works of Shakespear, Addison & Pope & Swift . . . 
as the best English classics. If you have a copy of this Draught I would beg 
to keep this, otherwise I would transcribe & return it 2 or 3 posts hence when 
I will also return my Noetica but as I am now examining one Ellis a late 
piece on the original of our Knowledge especially of Divine things, I would 
see whether it will administer any thing that may be an advantage to it, but 
I must . . . you capable of having suggested what might have been of use to 
it & I wish you had. Indeed I might have much enlarged if I had not been 
obliged to study brevity. If I should never remove to your parts I shall be 
glad to be as useful to your great design as I am able. By the way, I have 
heard you have had bad success in inoculating. I should be glad to know if 
truth. My very humble service to Messrs. John & Francis. I remain &c &c 

" S. J." 

1750] TO JARED ELIOT 31 

Friends, and he desires to be always respectfully remem- 
bered to you. 

I am glad to hear you are got well again; but cannot 
have the Pleasure of seeing you again this Year. I will 
write to Col. Schuyler, and obtain for you, a particular 
account of his manner of improving his bank'd Grounds; 
and will also procure for you a Specimen of our Alum Earth, 
with Mr. Syng's Observations on it. In return .(for you 
know there is no Trade without Returns) I request you to 
procure for me a particular Acct of the manner of making 
a new kind of Fence we saw at Southhold, on Long Island, 
which consists of a Bank and Hedge. I would know every 
particular relating to this Matter, as the best Thickness, 
Height, and Slope of the Bank; the Manner of erecting it, 
the best Time for the Work, the best Way of planting the 
Hedge, the Price of the Work to Labourers per Rod or 
Perch, and whatever may be of Use for our Information 
here, who begin in many Places to be at a Loss for Wood 
to make Fence with. We were told at Southhold, that this 
kind of Fencing had been long practiced with Success at 
Southampton and other Places, on the South Side of the 
Island, but was new among them. I hear the Minister at 
Southhold is esteem'd an ingenious Man ; perhaps you may 
know him, and he will at your Request favour me with an 
explicit Acct of these Fences. 

The fore part of the Summer here was extremely dry, 
and the Grass in many Places was burnt up. But we had 
a good Crop of Wheat; and, Rains coming on about the 
End of July, we had in August a new Spring, the Grass 
sprouting again wonderfully thick and fast, in Fields where 
we thought the very Roots had been destroyed. Our 


Grave-diggers said they found the earth hot sensibly at 3 
feet depth, even after these Rains ; perhaps the great Heat 
below, and the Moisture above, occasioned this sudden and 
profuse Vegetation, the whole Country being, as it were, 
one great Hot-bed. 
I am, with esteem and affection, dear Sir, 

Your obliged hum. servt, 



Account oj an Accident while making an Electrical 

Philadelphia, December 25, 1750. 

I have lately made an experiment in electricity, that I 
desire never to repeat. Two nights ago, being about to Icill 
a turkey by the shock from two large glass jars, containing 
as much electrical fire as forty common phials, I inadver- 
tently took the whole through my own arms and body, by 
receiving the fire from the united top wires with one hand, 
while the other held a chain connected with the outsides 
of both jars. The company present (whose talking to me, 
and to one another, I suppose occasioned my inattention 
to what I was about) say, that the flash was very great, and 
the crack as loud as a pistol ; yet, my senses being instantly 
gone, I neither saw the one nor heard the other; nor did I 
feel the stroke on my hand, though I afterwards found it 
raised a round swelling where the fire entered, as big as half 

1 A copy of this letter was found among Governor Bowdoin's papers, with- 
out the name of the person to whom it was addressed. S. 


a pistol-bullet; by which you may judge of the quickness 
of the electrical fire, which by this instance seems to be 
greater than that of sound, light, or animal sensation. 

What I can remember of the matter is that I was about 
to try whether the bottles or jars were fully charged, by the 
strength and length of the stream issuing to my hand, as I 
commonly used to do, and which I might safely enough have 
done if I had not held the chain in the other hand. I then 
felt what I know not how well to describe ; a universal blow 
throughout my whole body from head to foot, which seemed 
within as well as without ; after which the first thing I took 
notice of was a violent quick shaking of my body, which 
gradually remitting, my sense as gradually returned, and 
then I thought the bottles must be discharged, but could 
not conceive how, till at last I perceived the chain in my 
hand, and recollected what I had been about to do. That 
part of my hand and fingers, which held the chain, was left 
white, as though the blood had been driven out, and re- 
mained so eight or ten minutes after, feeling like dead flesh ; 
and I had a numbness in my arms and the back of my neck, 
which continued till the next morning, but wore off. 
Nothing remains now of this shock, but a soreness in my 
breast-bone, which feels as if it had been bruised. I did 
not fall, but suppose I should have been knocked down, if 
I had received the stroke in my head. The whole was over 
in less than a minute. 

You may communicate this to Mr. Bowdoin, as a caution 
to him, but do not make it more public, for I am ashamed 
to have been guilty of so notorious a blunder; a match for 
that of the Irishman, whom my sister told me of, who, to 
divert his wife, poured the bottle of gunpowder on the live 

VOL. Ill D 


coal; or of that other, who, being about to steal powder, 
made a hole in the cask with a hot iron. I am yours, &c. 


P. S. The jars hold six gallons each. 



[Philadelphia] 1751. 


I inclose you answers, such as my present hurry of busi- 
ness will permit me to make, to the principal queries con- 
tained in yours of the 28th instant, and beg leave to refer 
you to the latter piece in the printed collection of my papers, 
for farther explanation of the difference between what are 
called electrics per se, and non- electrics. When you have had 
time to read and consider these papers, I will endeavour to 
make any new experiments you shall propose, that you 
think may afford farther light or satisfaction to either of us ; 
and shall be much obliged to you for such remarks, objec- 
tions, &c., as may occur to you. 

I forget whether I wrote you that I have melted brass 
pins and steel needles, inverted the poles of the magnetic 
needle, given a magnetism and polarity to needles that had 
none, and fired dry gunpowder by the electric spark. I 
have five bottles that contain 8 or 9 gallons each, two of 
which charg'd, are sufficient for those purposes: but I can 
iFrom "Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London: 1769, 
P- 93- 


charge and discharge them altogether. There are no bounds 
(but what expence and labour give) to the force man 
may raise and use in the electrical way: for bottle may be 
added to bottle in infinitum, and all united and discharged 
together as one, the force and effect proportioned to their 
number and size. The greatest known effects of common 
lightning may, I think, without much difficulty, be exceeded 
m this way, which a few years since could not have been 
>eheved, and even now may seem to many a little extrav- 
agant to suppose. So we are got beyond the skill of 
Rabelais devils of two years old, who, he humorously 
says had only learnt to thunder and lighten a little round 
the head of a cabbage. 

I am, with sincere respect, 

Your most obliged humble servant, 

_____ B- FRANKLIN. 


Query. Wherein consists the difference between an 
electric and a non-electric body? 
Answer The terms electric per se and non-electric, were 

ii_ .1 ., oia,iwcn supposition 

that those called electrics per se, alone contained electric 
matter m their substance, which was capable of being ex 
cited by friction, and of being produced or drawn from Aem 
and communicated to those called non-electrics, supposed' 
to be desmute of it: For the glass, &c., being rubbed, dis- 

^Fnm, -Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London: ,,69, 


cover'd signs of having it, by snapping to the finger, attract- 
ing, repelling, &c., and could communicate those signs to 
metals and water. Afterwards it was found, that rubbing 
of glass would not produce the electric matter, unless a com- 
munication was preserved between the rubber and the floor; 
and subsequent experiments proved that the electric matter 
was really drawn from those bodies that at first were thought 
to have none in them. Then it was doubted whether glass, 
and other bodies called electrics per se, had really any 
electric matter in them, since they apparently afforded none 
but what they first extracted from those which had been 
called non-electrics. But some of my experiments shew 
that glass contains it in great quantity, and I now suspect it 
to be pretty equally diffused in all the matter of this ter- 
raqueous globe. If so, the terms electric per se and non- 
electric, should be laid aside as improper: And (the only 
difference being this, that some bodies will conduct electric 
matter, and others will not) the terms conductor and non- 
conductor may supply their place. If any portion of electric 
matter is applied to a piece of conducting matter, it penetrates 
and flows through it, or spreads equally on its surface ; if 
applied to a piece of non-conducting matter, it will do 
neither. Perfect conductors of electric matter are only 
metals and water; other bodies conducting only as they 
contain a mixture of those ; without more or less of which 
they will not conduct at all. 1 This (by the way) shews a 
new relation between metals and water heretofore unknown. 
To illustrate this by a comparison, which, however, can 
only give a faint resemblance. Electric matter passes 

1 This proposition is since found to be too general ; Mr. Wilson having 
discovered that melted wax and rosin will also conduct. F. 


through conductors, as water passes through a porous stone, 
or spreads on their surfaces as water spreads on a wet stone ; 
but, when applied to non-conductors, it is like water dropt 
on a greasy stone, it neither penetrates, passes through, nor 
spreads on the surface, but remains in drops where it falls. 
See farther on this head in my last printed piece, [entitled 
Opinions and Conjectures, &c. 1749.] 

Query. What are the effects of air in electrical experi- 
ments ? 

Answer. All I have hitherto observed, are these. Moist 
air receives and conducts the electrical matter in propor- 
tion to its moisture, quite dry air not at all : air is therefore 
to be class'd with the non-conductors. Dry air assists in 
confining the electrical atmosphere to the body it surrounds, 
and prevents its dissipating : for in vacuo it quits easily, and 
points operate stronger, i.e. they throw off or attract the 
electrical matter more freely, and at greater distances; so 
that air intervening obstructs its passage from body to body, 
in some degree. A clean electrical phial and wire, contain- 
ing air instead of water, will not be charged nor give a 
shock, any more than if it was filPd with powder of glass; 
but exhausted of air it operates as well as if filled with water. 
Yet, an electric atmosphere and air do not seem to exclude 
each other, for we breath freely in such an atmosphere, and 
dry air will blow through it without displacing or driving it 
away. I question whether the strongest dry N. Wester 
would dissipate it. I once electrified a large cork ball, at 
the end of a silk thread three feet long, the other end of 
which I held in my fingers, and whirFd it round, like a sling, 
100 times in the air, with the swiftest motion I could possibly 
give it, yet it retained its electric atmosphere, though it 


must have passed through 800 yarcls of air, allowing my 
arm in giving the motion to add a foot to the semi-diameter 
of the circle. By quite dry air, I mean the dryest we have ; 
for perhaps we never have any perfectly free from moisture. 
An electrical atmosphere raised round a thick wire, inserted 
in a phial of air, drives out none of the air, nor on with- 
drawing that atmosphere will any air rush in, as I have 
found by a curious experiment l accurately made, whence we 
concluded that the air's elasticity was not affected thereby. 

An Experiment towards discovering more of the Qualities 
oj the Electric Fluid. 

FROM the prime conductor, hang a bullet by a wire hook ; 
under the bullet, at half an inch distance, place a bright 
piece of silver to receive the sparks; then let the wheel be 
turned, and in a few minutes (if the repeated sparks con- 

1 The experiment here mentioned was thus made. An empty phial was 
stopped with a cork. Through the cork passed a thick wire, as usual in the 
Leyden experiment, which wire almost reached the bottom. Through another 
part of the cork passed one leg of a small glass siphon, the other leg on the 
outside came down almost to the bottom of the phial. This phial was first 
held a short time in the hand, which, warming and of course rarefying the air 
within, drove a small part of it out through the siphon. Then a little red ink 
in a tea-spoon was applied to the opening of the outer leg of the siphon ; 
so that as the air within cooled, a little of the ink might rise in that leg. 
When the air within the bottle come to be of the same temperature of that 
without, the drop of red ink would rest in a certain part of the leg. But the 
warmth of a finger applied to the phial would cause that drop to descend, as 
the least outward coolness applied would make it ascend. When it had found 
its situation, and was at rest, the wire was electrified by a communication from 
the prime conductor. This was supposed to give an electric atmosphere to 
the wire within the bottle, which might likewise rarefy the included air, and 
of course depress the drop of ink in the siphon. But no such effect followed. 

This note is quoted from the fifth edition, 1774. It is not found in the 
others. ED. 


tinually strike in the same spot) the silver will receive a blue 
stain, nearly the colour of a watch-spring. 

A bright piece of iron will also be spotted, but not with 
that colour; it rather seems corroded. 

On gold, brass, or tin, I have not perceived it makes any 
impression. But the spots on the silver or iron will be the 
same, whether the bullet be lead, brass, gold, or silver. 

On a silver bullet there will also appear a small spot, as 
well as on the plate below it. 


Philadelphia, February 4 1750, 51. 

DEAR SIR : I wrote you per Capt. Budden, who sailed 
the beginning of December, and sent you a bill of exchange 
on Jonathan Gurnel & Co. for 50, and desired you to send 
one Viner's Bacon and Danver's Abridgments of the Law, 
with Wood's and Coke's Institutes. I have no copy of the 
letter, and forgot whether I added the Complete Attorney, 
in six or eight volumes, 8 vo, the precedents in English; 
please to send that also. I likewise desired you to enter my 
son's name William Franklin, in one of the Inns of Court 
as a student of Law, which, I am told costs between 5 and 
6, and to let me know what time must expire before he can 
be called to the bar after such entry, because he intends to 
go to London a year or two before, to finish his studies. I 
hope that letter got to hand. I see they have printed a new 
translation of Tully on Old Age ; please to send me one of 

Mr. Hall continues well, and goes on perfectly to my satis- 


faction. My respects to Mrs. Strahan and Master Billy. 
I have not time to add but that I am with great esteem and 
affection, dear sir, your most obliged humble servant, 



Philadelphia, March 20, 1750, I. 


I have, as you desire, read the Manuscript you sent me; 
and am of Opinion, with the publick-spirited Author, that 
securing the Friendship of the Indians is of the greatest Con- 
sequence to these Colonies; and that the surest means of 
doing it, are, to regulate the Indian Trade, so as to convince 
them, by Experience, that they may have the best and 
cheapest Goods, and the fairest Dealing from the English; 
and to unite the several Governments, so as to form a 
Strength that the Indians may depend on for Protection in 
Case of a Rupture with the French; or apprehend great 
Danger from, if they should break with us. 

This Union of the Colonies, however necessary, I appre- 
hend is not to be brought about by the Means that have 
hitherto been used for that Purpose. A Governor of one 

1 This letter was printed by Mr. Bigelow (" The Complete Works of 
Benjamin Franklin," Vol. II, p. 217). His attention was directed to it by 
Professor Edward Eggleston, who found it in the appendix to a pamphlet 
entitled, " The Importance of Gaining and Preserving the Friendship of the 
Indians to the British Interest, Considered." The pamphlet was published in 
New York, by James Parker, in 1751, and the letter was thus introduced: 
" The Author of the foregoing Essay, having desired the Printer to communi- 
cate the Manuscript to some of the most judicious of his Friends, it produced 
the following Letter from one of them : The publishing whereof, we think, 
needs no other Apology." ED. 


Colony, who happens from some Circumstances in his own 
Government, to see the Necessity of such an Union, writes 
his Sentiments of the Matter to the other Governors, and 
desires them to recommend it to their respective Assem- 
blies. They accordingly lay the Letters before those Assem- 
blies, and perhaps recommend the Proposal in general 
Words. But Governors are often on ill Terms with their 
Assemblies, and seldom are the Men that have the most 
Influence among them. And perhaps some Governors, 
tho' they openly recommend the Scheme, may privately 
throw cold Water on it, as thinking additional publick 
Charges will make their People less able or less willing to 
give to them. Or perhaps they do not clearly see the Neces- 
sity of it, and therefore do not very earnestly press the Con- 
sideration of it: And no one being present that has the 
Affair at Heart, to back it, to answer and remove Objections, 
&c., 'tis easily dropt, and nothing is done. Such an Union 
is certainly necessary to us all, but more immediately so to 
your Government. Now, if you were to pick out half a 
Dozen Men of good Understanding and Address, and fur- 
nish them with a reasonable Scheme and proper Instruc- 
tions, and send them in the Nature of Ambassadors to the 
other Colonies, where they might apply particularly to all 
the leading Men, and by proper Management get them to 
engage in promoting the Scheme; where, by being present, 
they would have the Opportunity of pressing the Affair 
both in publick and private, obviating Difficulties as they 
arise, answering Objections as soon as they are made, before 
they spread and gather Strength in the Minds of the People, 
&c., &c. I imagine such an Union might thereby be made 
and established: For reasonable sensible Men, can always 


make a reasonable Scheme appear such to other reasonable 
Men, if they take Pains, and have Time and Opportunity 
for it; unless from some Circumstances their Honesty and 
good Intentions are suspected. A voluntary Union entered 
into by the Colonies themselves, I think, would be prefer- 
able to one impos'd by Parliament ; for it would be perhaps 
not much more difficult to procure, and more easy to alter 
and improve, as Circumstances should require and Experi- 
ence direct. It would be a very strange Thing, if Six Na- 
tions of ignorant Savages should be capable of forming a 
Scheme for such an Union, and be able to execute it in such 
a Manner, as that it has subsisted Ages, and appears indis- 
soluble; and yet that a like Union should be impracticable 
for ten or a Dozen English Colonies, to whom it is more 
necessary, and must be more advantageous; and who can- 
not be supposed to want an equal Understanding of their 

Were there a general Council form'd by all the Colo- 
nies, and a general Governor appointed by the Crown to 
preside in that Council, or in some Manner to concur with 
and confirm their Acts, and take Care of the Execution ; every 
Thing relating to Indian Affairs and the Defence of the 
Colonies, might be properly put under their Management. 
Each Colony should be represented by as many Members 

as it pays Sums of Hundred Pounds into the common 

Treasury for the common Expence; which Treasury would 
perhaps be best and most equitably supply'd, by an equal 
Excise on strong Liquors in all the Colonies, the Produce 
never to be apply'd to the private Use of any Colony, but to 
the general Service. Perhaps if the Council were to meet 
successively at the Capitals of the several Colonies, they 

1 75 1] TO JAMES PARKER 43 

might thereby become better acquainted with the Circum- 
stances, Interests, Strength, or Weakness, &c., of all, and 
thence be able to judge better of Measures propos'd from 
time to time: At least it might be more satisfactory to the 
Colonies, if this were propos'd as a Part of the Scheme; for 
a Preference might create Jealousy and Dislike. 

I believe the Place mention'd is a very suitable one to 
build a Fort on. In Times of Peace, Parties of the Gar- 
risons of all Frontier Forts might be allowed to go out on 
Hunting Expeditions, with or without Indians, and have 
the Profit to themselves of the Skins they get: By this 
Means a Number of Wood-Runners would be form'd, well 
acquainted with the Country, and of great Use in War 
Time as Guides of Parties and Scouts, &c. Every Indian 
is a Hunter; and as their Manner of making War, viz., 
by Skulking, Surprizing and Killing particular Persons and 
Families, is just the same as their Manner of Hunting, only 
changing the Object, Every Indian is a disciplined Soldier. 
Soldiers of this Kind are always wanted in the Colonies in 
an Indian War, for the European Military Discipline ' is of 
little Use in these Woods. 

Publick Trading Houses would certainly have a good 
Effect towards regulating the private Trade ; and preventing 
the Impositions of the private Traders; and therefore such 
should be established in suitable Places all along the Fron- 
tiers; and the Superintendant of the Trade, propos'd by 
the Author, would, I think, be a useful Officer. 

The Observation concerning the Importation of Germans 
in too great Numbers into Pennsylvania is, I believe, a very 
just one. This will in a few Years become a German 
Colony: Instead of their Learning our Language, we must 


learn their's, or live as in a foreign Country. Already the 
English begin to quit particular Neighbourhoods surrounded 
by Dutch, being made uneasy by the Disagreeableness of 
disonant Manners; And in Time, Numbers will probably 
quit the Province for the same Reason. Besides, the Dutch 
under-live, and are thereby enabled to under-work and 
under-sell the English; who are thereby extreamly incom- 
moded, and consequently disgusted, so that there can be no 
cordial Affection or Unity between the two Nations. How 
good Subjects they may make, and how faithful to the 
British Interest, is a Question worth considering. And 
in my Opinion, equal Numbers might have been spared 
from the British Islands without being miss'd there, and on 
proper Encouragement would have come over. I say with- 
out being miss'd, perhaps I might say without lessening 
the Number of People at Home. I question indeed, 
whether there be a Man the less in Britain for the Estab- 
lishment of the Colonies. An Island can support but a 
certain Number of People: When all Employments are 
full, Multitudes refrain from Marriage, 'till they can see 
how to maintain a Family. The Number of Englishmen 
in England, cannot by their present common Increase be 
doubled in a Thousand Years; but if half of them were 
taken away and planted in America, where there is Room 
for them to encrease, and sufficient Employment and Sub- 
sistance; the Number of Englishmen would be doubled in 
100 Years: for those left at home, would multiply in that 
Time so as to fill up the Vacancy, and those here would at 
least keep Pace with them. 

Every one must approve the Proposal of encouraging a 
Number of sober discreet Smiths to reside among the Indians. 


They would doubtless be of great Service. The whole Sub- 
sistance of Indians depends on keeping their Guns in order; 
and if they are obliged to make a Journey of two or three 
hundred Miles to an English Settlement to get a Lock 
mended; it may, besides the Trouble, occasion the Loss of 
their Hunting Season. They are People that think much 
of their temporal, but little of their spiritual Interests; and 
therefore, as he would be a most useful and necessary Man 
to them, a Smith is more likely to influence them than a 
Jesuit; provided he has a good common Understanding, 
and is from time to time well instructed. 

I wish I could offer any Thing for the Improvement of 
the Author's Piece, but I have little Knowledge, and less 
Experience in these Matters. I think it ought to be 
printed; and should be glad there were a more general 
Communication of the Sentiments of judicious Men, on 
Subjects so generally interesting; it would certainly produce 
good Effects. Please to present my Respects to the Gen- 
tleman, and thank him for the Perusal of his Manuscript. 
I am, yours affectionately. 


From The Pennsylvania Gazette, May 9, 1751. 


By a Passage in one of your late Papers, I understand 
that the Government at home will not suffer our mistaken 

1 Paul Leicester Ford recognized Franklin's hand in this satire. Mr. Bige- 
low printed it in the fifth edition of " The Life of Benjamin Franklin " (1905). 
It is referred to by Condorcet in his Eloge of Franklin before the Academic 


Assemblies to make any Law for preventing or discouraging 
the Importation of Convicts from Great Britain, for this 
kind Reason, l That such Laws are against the Publick 
Utility, as they tend to prevent the IMPROVEMENT and WELL 
PEOPLING of tJtc Colonies. 9 

Such a tender parental Concern in our M 'oilier Country 
for the Welfare of her Children, calls aloud for the highest 
Returns of Gratitude and Duty. This every one must be 
sensible of : But 'tis said, that in our present Circumstances 
it is absolutely impossible for us to make such as are adequate 
to the Favour. I own it; but nevertheless let us do our 
Endeavour. Tis something to show a grateful Disposition. 

In some of the uninhabited Parts of these Provinces, there 
are Numbers of these venomous Reptiles we call RATTLE- 
SNAKES ; Felons- convict from the Beginning of the World : 
These, whenever we meet with them, we put to Death, by 
Virtue of an old Law, Thou shall bruise his Head. But 
as this is a sanguinary Law, and may seem too cruel; and 
as however mischievous those Creatures are with us, they 
may possibly change their Natures, if they were to change 
the Climate; I would humbly propose, that this general 
Sentence of Death be changed for Transportation. 

In the Spring of the Year, when they first creep out of 
their Holes, they are feeble, heavy, slow, and easily taken; 
and if a small Bounty were allow'd per Head, some Thousands 
might be collected annually, and transported to Britain. 
There I would propose to have them carefully distributed 

des Sciences in 1790 : "Charge de demander 1'abolition de 1'usage insultant 
d'envoyer les malfaiteurs dans les Colonies, le Ministre lui allegait la necessite 
d'en delivrer 1'Angleterre. Que diriez-vous, repondit-il, si nous ordonnions 
1'exportation des serpens a sonnette." ED. 


in St. James's Park, in the Spring-Gardens and other Places 
of Pleasure about London; in the Gardens of all the Nobility 
and Gentry throughout the Nation; but particularly in the 
Gardens of the Prime Ministers, the Lords oj Trade and 
Members oj Parliament; for to them we are most particu- 
larly obliged. 

There is no human Scheme so perfect, but some Incon- 
veniencies may be objected to it: Yet when the Conven- 
iencies far exceed, the Scheme is judg'd rational, and fit to 
be executed. Thus Inconveniencies have been objected to 
that good and wise Act of Parliament, by virtue of which 
all the Newgates and Dungeons in Britain are emptied into 
the Colonies. It has been said, that these Thieves and 
Villains introduced among us, spoil the Morals of Youth 
in the Neighbourhoods that entertain them, and perpetrate 
many horrid Crimes : But let not private Interests obstruct 
publick Utility. Our Mother knows what is best for us. 
What is a little Housebreaking, Shoplifting, or Highway 
Robbing; what is a Son now and then corrupted and 
hang'd, a Daughter debauch' d and pox'd, a Wife staWd, a 
Husband's Throat cut, or a Child's Brains beat out with an 
Axe, compared with this ' IMPROVEMENT and WELL PEOPLING 
of the Colonies!' 

Thus it may perhaps be objected to my Scheme, that the 
Rattle-Snake is a mischievous Creature, and that his changing 
his Nature with the Clime is a mere Supposition, not yet 
confirm'd by sufficient Facts. What then? Is not Ex- 
ample more prevalent than Precept? And may not the 
honest rough British Gentry, by a Familiarity with these 
Reptiles, learn to creep, and to insinuate, and to slaver, and 
to wriggle into Place (and perhaps to poison such as stand 


in their Way) Qualities of no small Advantage to Courtiers ! 
In comparison of which 'IMPROVEMENT and PUBLICS 
UTILITY,' what is a Child now and then kilPd by their 
venomous Bite, ... or even a favourite Lap Dog? 

I would only add, that this exporting of Felons to the 
Colonies, may be consider'd as a Trade, as well as in the 
Light of a Favour, Now all Commerce implies Returns: 
Justice requires them: There can be no Trade without 
them. And Rattle-Snakes seem the most suitable Returns 
for the Human Serpents sent us by our Mother Country. 
In this, however, as in every other Branch of Trade, she 
will have the Advantage of us. She will reap equal Benefits 
without equal Risque of the Inconveniencies and Dangers. 
For the Rattle-Snake gives Warning before he attempts his 
Mischief; which the Convict does not. I am 

Yours, &c. 


119. TO PETER COLLINSON 1 (p. c.) 

Philad May 21. 1751 


Budden is arrived and everything you sent per him come 
safe to hand. Both the Library- Company and the Academy 
are exceedingly obliged to you and would be glad of any 
Opportunity of serving you or any of your Friends. The 
Academy goes on as one could wish: We have excellent 
Masters and the Boys improve surprizingly. The Number 
now 70 and daily encreasing. I shall write more particu- 
larly per next Vessel. The occasion of my writing this, via 

1 From the original in the collection of Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan. 


Ireland is That I have just received Advice that the Deputy 
Post Master General of America (Mr. Elliot Benger residing 
in Virginia) who has for some time been in declining Way 
is tho't to be near his End. My Friends advise me to apply 
for this Post and Mr. Allen (our Chief Justice) has wrote 
the enclos'd to his Correspondent, Mr. Simpson, in my 
favour requesting his Interest and Application in the Affair 
and impowering him to advance a considerable Sum if it 
should be necessary. 

I have not heretofore made much Scruple of giving you 
Trouble when the Publick Good was to be promoted by it, 
but 'tis with great Reluctance that I think of asking you to 
interest yourself in my private Concerns, as I know you 
have little Time to spare. The Place is in the Disposal of 
the Post Masters General of Britain with some of whom or 
their Friends you may possibly have Acquaintance. Mr. 
Allen has desir'd Mr. Simpson to confer with you on the 
Affair and if you can without much Inconvenience to your- 
self advise and assist in endeavouring to secure the Success 
of this Application you will whatever may be the Event add 
greatly to the Obligations you have already conferred on me : 
and if it succeeds I hope that as my Power of doing good 
increases my Inclination will always at least keep pace \vith 
it. I am quite a Stranger to the Manner of Managing these 
Applications so can offer no particular Instructions. I en- 
close a Copy of the Commission of a former Deputy Post 
Master General which may be of some Use. The Articles 
of Agreem* refer'd to in the Commission I have never seen 
but suppose they have always been nearly the same whoever 
is appointed, and have been usually sent over to America to 
be executed by the new Officer; for I know neither of the 

VOL. Ill K 


three last Officers went to England for the Commission. 
The Place has been commonly reputed worth about 150 
a Year but would be otherways very suitable to me, particu- 
larly as it would enable me to execute a Scheme long since 
form'd of which I send you enclosed a Copy, and which I 
hope would soon produce something agreeable to you and 
to all Lovers of Useful Knowledge, for I have now a large 
Acquaintance among ingenious Men in America. I need 
not tell you that Philadelphia being the Center of the Con- 
tinent Colonies and having constant Communication with 
the West India Islands is by much a fitter Place for the 
Situation of a General Post Office than Virginia, and that 
it would be some Reputation to our Province to have it 
establish 'd here. I would only add that as I have a Respect 
for Mr. Benger I should be glad the Application were so 
managed as not to give him any Offence if he should recover. 
But I leave everything to you and Mr. Simpson referring 
you to Mr. Allen's Letter to that Gentleman for further par- 
ticulars, and am dear Sir, 

Your affectionate humble Serv 1 


P. S. I have heard 200 was given for this Office by 
Mr. Benger and the same by his Predecessor. I know not 
whose Perquisite it was. But lest that should not be suffi- 
cient and there may be some contingent Fees and Charges 
Mr. Allen has ordered 300. However the less it costs the 
better as 'tis an Office for Life only which is a very uncer- 
tain Tenure. 


120. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN. ( P . c .) 
Philadelphia, June 28, 1751. 

f March 26th > w *h the 

books per Smith, in good order; and your account, which 
agrees with mine, except in a trifle, the share of the charges 
on Amsworth carried to J. Read's account. I am concerned 
at your lymg so long out of y our m oney, and must think of 
some way of maWng you amends. I have wrote to Smith 
at Ant,gua to quicken him in discharging his debt to you 
I purpose, God willing, to go over with my son as soon as it 
becomes necessary for him to go, when I hope to have the 
pleasure of finding you and yours well and happy ! the 
parcel of books ! had from you, ! 747 (I think the last parcel) 
here was a number of Law books. When I quitted the shop 
to Mr Hall, they were left in his hands for sale, the person 
who had ordered them not taking them. Now we have 
;t or mislaid the invoice between us, and cannot settle for 
hose books without your help. I must therefore beg the 
favour of you to send me a copy of that invoice, so far as 
relates to the law books, please also to send me the last 
three volumes of the 8vo Universal History to complete 
my set, bound in boards, covered with blue paper. My 
wife and children join in the most affectionate regards to 

T ?T S !? han> ^ family ' Wkh ' dear sir > y st 
obliged humble servant, 




Philadelphia, September 5, 1751. 


As you are curious in electricity, I take the freedom of 
introducing to you, my friend Mr. Kinnersley, who visits 
Boston with a complete apparatus for experimental lectures 
on that subject. He has given great satisfaction to all that 
have heard him here, and I believe you will be pleased with 
his performance. He is quite a stranger in Boston; and, 
as you will find him a sensible, worthy man, I hope he will 
be favoured with your countenance, and the encouragement 
which that must procure him among your friends. I am, 
Sir, with great respect, 

Your most humble servant, 



Philadelphia, September 12, 1751. 


I received your favour of last month, with the twelve Essays. 
The Collinson you mention is the same gentleman I corre- 
spond with. He is a most benevolent, worthy man, very 
curious in botany and other branches of natural history, 
and fond of improvements in agriculture, &c. He will be 
pleased with your acquaintance. In the late Philosophical 
Transactions, you may see frequently papers of his, or 
letters that were directed to him, on various subjects. He 
is a member of the Royal Society. 

1 First printed by Sparks. 


An ingenious acquaintance of mine here, Mr. Hugh 
Roberts, 1 one of our most eminent farmers, tells me, that 
it appears by your writings, that your people are yet far 
behind us in the improvement of swamps and meadows. I 
am persuading him to send you such hints as he thinks may 
give you farther insight into that matter. But in other 
respects he greatly esteems your pieces. He says they are 
preferable to any thing of late years published on that sub- 
ject in England. The late writers there chiefly copy from 
one another, and afford very little new or useful; but you 
have collected experiences and facts, and make propositions, 
that are reasonable and serviceable. You have taught him, 
he says, to clear his meadows of elder (a thing very perni- 
cious to banks), which was before beyond the art of all our 
farmers; and given him several other useful informations. 

I am exceedingly obliged to you for the plan and directions 
concerning ditching. It is very satisfactory, and I hope will 
be useful here. 

Our Academy flourishes beyond expectation. We have 
now above one hundred scholars, and the number is daily 
increasing. We have excellent masters at present; and, 
as we give pretty good salaries, I hope we shall always be 
able to procure such. We pay the Rector, who teaches 

Latin and Greek, per annum, ....... 200 

The English master, ......... 

The Mathematical professor, ....... 

Three assistant tutors each 60 ...... 

Total per annum ...... 655 

1 See letters to Roberts, dated February 26, 1761, July 7, 1765, and Febru- 
ary 27, 1 766, in the possession of C. Morton Smith, Esq., great-great-grandson 
of Hugh Roberts. ED. 


Our currency is something better than that of New York. 
The scholars pay each 4 per annum. 

The changes of the barometer are most sensible in high 
latitudes. In the West India Islands the mercury continues 
at the same height with very little variation the year round. 
In these latitudes, the alterations are not frequently so great 
as in England. Thermometers are often badly made. I 
had three that differed widely from each other, though hung 
in the same place. As to hygrometers, there is no good one 
yet invented. 1 The cord is as good as any; but, like the 
rest, it grows continually less sensible by time, so that the 
observations of one year cannot be compared with those of 
another by the same instrument. I will think of what you 
hint concerning the hydrostatic balance. 

What you mention concerning the love of praise is indeed 
very true; it reigns more or less in every heart; though we 
are generally hypocrites, in that respect, and pretend to 
disregard praise, and our nice, modest ears are offended, 
forsooth, with what one of the ancients calls the sweetest 
kind of music. This hypocrisy is only a sacrifice to the 
pride of others, or to their envy ; both which, I think, ought 
rather to be mortified. The same sacrifice we make, when 
we forbear to praise ourselves, which naturally we are ail 
inclined to; and I suppose it was formerly the fashion, or 
Virgil, that courtly writer, would not have put a speech into 
the mouth of his hero, which now-a-days we should esteem 
so great an indecency ; 

" Sum plus Ericas, 

fama super aethera notus." 

One of the Romans, I forget who, justified speaking in his 

1 See letter to Edward Nairne, November 13, 1780. ED. 

1 75 1] TO JARED ELIOT 55 

own praise by saying, Every freeman had a right to speak 
what he thought 0} himself, as well as of others. That this 
is a natural inclination appears in that all children show it, 
and say freely, / am a good boy; Am I not a good girl? and 
the like, till they have been frequently chid, and told their 
trumpeter is dead; and that it is unbecoming to sound their 
own praise, &c. But naturam expellas jurcd, tamen usque 
recurret. Being forbid to praise themselves, they learn 
instead of it to censure others; which is only a roundabout 
way of praising themselves; for condemning the conduct of 
another, in any particular, amounts to as much as saying, / 
am so honest, or wise, or good, or prudent, that I could not 
do or approve of such an action. This fondness for ourselves, 
rather than malevolence to others, I take to be the general 
source of censure and backbiting ; and I wish men had not 
been taught to dam up natural currents, to the overflowing 
and damage of their neighbours' grounds. 

Another advantage, methinks, would arise from freely 
speaking our good thoughts of ourselves, viz. if we were 
wrong in them, somebody or other would readily set us 
right; but now, while we conceal so carefully our vain, 
erroneous self-opinions, we may carry them to our grave, 
for who would offer physic to a man that seems to be in 
health ? And the privilege of recounting freely our own good 
actions might be an inducement to the doing of them, that 
we might be enabled to speak of them without being subject 
to be justly contradicted or charged with falsehood ; whereas 
now, as we are not allowed to mention them, and it is an uncer- 
tainty whether others will take due notice of them or not, we 
are perhaps the more indifferent about them; so that, upon 
the whole, I wish the out- of -fashion practice of praising our- 


selves would, like other old fashions, come round into fashion 
again. But this I fear will not be in our time, so we must 
even be contented with what little praise we can get from 
one another. And I will endeavour to make you some 
amends for the trouble of reading this long scrawl, by telling 
you, that I have the sincerest esteem for you, as an ingenious 
man and a good one, which together make the valuable 
member of society. As such, I am with great respect and 
affection, dear Sir, your obliged humble servant, 



Philadelphia, September 22, 1751. 

DEAR SIR : My daughter received her books all in good 
order, and thanks you for your kind care in sending them. 
Enclosed is a second bill for 20 sterling, the first went per 

There is a little book on the game of chess, by Philip 
Stamona, 1 printed for J. Brindley, 1745 ; if to be had, please 
to send it to me, with the remaining volumes of Viner as fast 
as they are published. 

We are all well, and join in affectionate regards to you, 
Mrs. Strahan, and your children. I am, dear sir, your 
obliged humble servant, 


1 Philip Stamma, "The Noble Game of Chess," London, 1745, I2mo. 



Philadelphia, October 24, 1751. 


My son waits upon you with this, whom I heartily recom- 
mend to your motherly care and advice. He is indeed a 
sober and discreet lad of his years, but he is young and un- 
acquainted with the ways of your place. My compliments 
to my new niece, Miss Abiah, and pray her to accept the 
enclosed piece of gold, to cut her teeth; it may afterwards 
buy nuts for them to crack. 

Some time since I sent a letter to your care for our cousin 
at Casco Bay. Have you had an opportunity to forward 
it? My love to brother Mecom and your children; and to 
brother and sister Davenport and children; and respects 
to Mrs. Billings and her daughter, and all other friends, 
from, dear sister, your affectionate brother, 


125. TO SUSANNA WRIGHT 1 (p. c.) 

Philada Nov 21, 1751. 

Your guests all got well home to their Families highly 
pleased with their Journey and with the Hospitality of 
Hempfield. 3 

1 First printed in " Familiar Letters and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin 
Franklin" (Sparks). Boston, 1833, P- 2l - 

2 From the collection of J. Ewing Mifflin, Esq. 

8 Hempfield was the country home of the Wrights, who were the pioneer 
settlers of Columbia (or Wright's Ferry), Pennsylvania. Susanna was inter- 
ested in silk culture. Her brother James erected a corn and grist mill near the 
mouth of the Shawanese Run, and supplied Braddock's army with flour. ED. 


When I had the pleasure of seeing you I mentioned a 
new kind of Candles very convenient to read by, which I 
think you said you had not seen: I take the Freedom to 
send you a Specimen of them. You will find that they 
afford a clear white Light, may be held in the Hand even 
in hot weather, without softening; that their Drops do not 
make Grease Spots like those from common Candles; that 
they last much longer and need little or no snuffing. I may 
add, what will be another Recommendation of them to you 
that they are the Manufacture of our own country being 
wrought at Marcus Hook. 

In the magazine of August * I find that the magnificent 
King of Portugal has raised his Marble Aqueduct near 100 
foot higher than your Chicaselungo. It must be a most 
stupendous Work. I send you the Prospect of it. 

Accept an Almanack for the New Year with my hearty 
Wishes that it may prove a happy one to you and your 
Friends. I am 

Your obliged hum* Serv't 


126. TO JARED ELIOT ( Y .) 

Philada. Dec. 10, 1751. 


The Rector of our Academy, Mr. Martin, came over into 
this country on a Scheme for making Potash, in the Russian 
Method. He promised me some written Directions for you, 
which expecting daily, I delay'd writing, and now he lies 
dangerously ill of a kind of Quinsey. The Surgeons have 

1 Gentleman 1 s Magazine, August, 1751, Vol. XXI, p. 38. ED. 


been oblig'd to open his Windpipe, and introduce a leaden 
Pipe for him to breathe thro'. I fear he will not recover. 

I thank you for the Merino Wooll; 'tis a Curiosity. 
Mr. Roberts promises me some Observations on Husbandry 
for you. It is one Mr. Masters, that makes Dung of 
Leaves, and not Mr. Roberts. I hope to get the Particulars 
from him soon. 

I have a letter from Mr. Collinson, of July igth, in which 
he writes; "Pray, has Mr. Eliot published any Addition 
to his work? I have Nos. i and 2. If I can get ready, I 
will send some Improvements made in the sandy Parts of 
the County of Norfolk. By the Way, it is a great secret, 
but it is Mr. Jackson's own Drawing up, being Experiments 
made on some of his Father's Estates in that County ; but 
his name must not be mentioned. I thank you for the 
Fowl Meadow Grass. I sowed it June yth, as soon as I 
received it, but none is yet come up. I don't know how it is, 
but I never could raise any of your Native Grasses ; and I 
have had a variety from J. Bartram of curious Species." 

In another, of September 26th, he says, "I am much 
obliged to thee for Mr. Eliot's Third Essay. I have sent 
Maxwell's * Select Transactions in Husbandry.' If Mr. 
Eliot has not seen them, they may be very useful to him. I 
have prevail'd on our worthy, learned, and ingenious Friend 
Mr. Jackson to give some Dissertations on the Husbandry 
of Norfolk, believing it may be very serviceable to the Col- 
onies. He has great Opportunities of doing this, being a 
Gentleman of Leisure and Fortune, being the only Son, 
whose father has great Riches and Possessions, and resides 
every Year, all the long Vacation, at his Father's Seat in 
Norfolk. After J. Bartram has perused it, I shall submit 


how it may be further disposed of, only our friend Eliot 
should see it soon ; for Mr. Jackson admires his little Tracts 
of Husbandry, as well as myself, and it may be of greater 
service to him and his colony, than to yours." "The Fowl 
Meadow Grass has at last made its appearance. Another 
year we shall judge better of it." Thus far friend Collinson. 
You may expect the Papers in a Post or two. If you make 
any Use of them, you will take care not to mention any 
thing of the Author. 

The bearer is my son, who desir'd an opportunity of paying 
his Respects to you in his Return from Boston. He went 
by Sea. 

They have printed all my electrical papers in England, 
and sent me a few copies, of which I design to send you one 
per next post, after having corrected a few errata. I am, 

dear Sir, 

Your most humble servant, 


P. S. Mr. Martin is dead. 


Philada. Dec. 24, 1751. 


I wrote you at large by my Son, in answer to your former 
Favours, and sent you an Extract of Mr. Collinson's Letter, 
who much admires your Tracts on Husbandry. Herewith 
you will receive a Manuscript of a Friend of Mr. Collinson's, 
and a printed Book; which you may keep till Spring, and 
then return it to me. I believe they will afford you Pleasure. 

I send you also enclosed a Letter from my Friend John 

1 75 1] TO JARED ELIOT 61 

Bartram, whose Journal you have read. 1 He corresponds 
with several of the greatest Naturalists in Europe, and will be 
proud of an Acquaintance with you. I make no Apologies 
for introducing him to you ; for, tho' a plain illiterate Man, 
you will find he has Merit. And since for want of Skill in 
Agriculture I cannot converse with you pertinently on that 
valuable Subject, I am pleased that I have procured you two 
Correspondents who can. 

I am glad you have introduced English Declamation into 
your College. 2 It will be of great Service to the Youth, 
especially if care is taken to form their Pronunciation on the 
best Models. Mr. Whittlesea, who was lately here, will 
tell you, that we have little Boys under seven, who can 
deliver an Oration with more Propriety than most Preachers. 
'Tis a matter that has been too much neglected. I am, 

dear Sir, yours affectionately, 



Philadelphia, December 24, 1751. 

DEAR SIR, I received your favour of the nth inst. and 
thank you for the hint you give of the omission in the " Idea." 
The "Sacred Classics" are read in the English school, 
though I forgot to mention them. And I shall propose at the 
meeting of the Schools, after the Holidays, that the English 

1 " Observations on the Inhabitants, Climate, Soil, Rivers, Productions, 
Animals, and other matters worthy of Notice. Made by Mr. John Bartram in 
his Travels from Pensilvania to Onondago, Oswego, and the Lake Ontario, in 
Canada. London: Printed for J. Whiston and B. White in Fleet Street, 
1751." ED. 

Yale College. ED. 

3 From " Life and Correspondence of Samuel Johnson, D.D.," by E. 
Edwards Beardsley, 1874, p. 166. ED. 


master begin and continue to read select portions of them 
daily with the prayers as you advise. 

But if you can be thus useful to us at this distance, how 
much more might you be so if you were present with us, 
and had the immediate inspection and government of the 
schools. I wrote to you in my last that Mr. Martin our 
Rector died suddenly of a quinsy. His body was carried 
to the Church, respectfully attended by the trustees, all the 
masters and scholars in their order, and a great number of 
the citizens. Mr. Peters preached his funeral sermon, and 
gave him the just and honourable character he deserved. 
The schools are now broke up for Christmas, and will not 
meet again till the yth of January. Mr. Peters took care of 
the Latin and Greek School after Mr. Martin's death till 
the breaking up. And Mr. Allison, a dissenting minister, 
has promised to continue that care for a month after their 
next meeting. Is it impossible for you to make us a visit 
in that time ? I hope by the next post to know something of 
your sentiments, that I may be able to speak more positively 
to the Trustees concerning the probability of your being 
prevailed with to remove hither. 

The English master is Mr. Dove, a gentleman about your 
age, who formerly taught grammar sixteen years at Chi- 
chester in England. He is an excellent master, and his 
scholars have made a surprising progress. 

I shall send some of the " (Economies" to Mr. Havens per 
next post. If you have a spare one of your "Essays on the 
Method of Study," the English edition, please to send it me. 

My wife joins in the compliments of the season to you and 
Mrs. Johnson, with, dear Sir, 

Your affectionate humble servant, 




Written in Pensilvania, 1751 

1. TABLES of the Proportion of Marriages to Births, of 
Deaths to Births, of Marriages to the Numbers of Inhabitants, 
&c., forrn'd on Observaions (sic) made upon the Bills of 
Mortality, Christnings, &c., of populous Cities, will not suit 
Countries; nor will Tables form'd on Observations made 
on full-settled old Countries, as Europe, suit new Countries, 
as America. 

2. For People increase in Proportion to the Number of 
Marriages, and that is greater in Proportion to the Ease and 
Convenience of supporting a Family. When families can 

1 These " Observations " were appended to a political tract, published in 
Boston in the year 1755, entitled " Observations on the Late and Present Con- 
duct of the French " ; which was written by William Clarke, and dedicated to 
Governor Shirley. Mr. Clarke says in his preface : " The Observations con- 
cerning the Increase of Mankind Peopling of Countries, etc. were wrote some 
Years ago ; but the ingenious Author would never suffer them to be made pub- 
lick till now, when he hath been prevailed upon to consent to it by some of 
his Friends, who thought the Publication of them would be of general Bene- 
fit and Advantage." In 1760 appeared Franklin's pamphlet, entitled "The 
Interest of Great Britain considered, with Regard to her Colonies," published 
in London, to which this paper was appended, with the following preliminary 
notice. "In Confirmation of the Writer's Opinion concerning Population, 
Manufactures, &c., he has thought it not amiss to add an Extract from a Piece 
written some Years since in America, where the Facts must be well known, 
on which the Reasonings are founded." It was again printed in " Experi- 
ments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, identical with the 
pamphlet of 1760. In Clarke there is a concluding paragraph of 287 words 
which did not appear in any of the future editions. Both Bartram and Golden 
(1754) censured the conclusion and Franklin sacrificed the final para- 
graph. ED. 


be easily supported, more Persons marry, and earlier in 

3. In Cities, where all Trades, Occupations, and Offices 
are full, many delay marrying till they can see how to 
bear the Charges of a Family; which Charges are greater 
in Cities, as Luxury is more common: many live single 
during Life, and continue Servants to Families, Journey- 
men to Trades ; &c. hence Cities do not by natural Genera- 
tion supply themselves with Inhabitants; the Deaths are 
more than the Births. 

4. In Countries full settled, the Case must be nearly the 
same; all Lands being occupied and improved to the 
Heighth ; those who cannot get Land, must Labour for others 
that have it ; when Labourers are plenty, their Wages will be 
low ; by low Wages a family is supported with Difficulty ; 
this Difficulty deters many from Marriage, who therefore 
long continue Servants and single. Only as the Cities take 
Supplies of People from the Country, and thereby make a 
little more Room in the Country ; Marriage is a little more 
encouraged there, and the Births exceed the Deaths. 

5. Europe is generally full settled with Husbandmen, 
Manufacturers, &c., and therefore cannot now much in- 
crease in People: America is chiefly occupied by Indians, 
who subsist mostly by Hunting. But as the Hunter, of all 
Men, requires the greatest Quantity of Land from whence 
to draw his Subsistence, (the Husbandman subsisting on 
much less, the Gardner on still less, and the Manufacturer 
requiring least of all), the Europeans found America as fully 
settled as it well could be by Hunters; yet these, having 
large Tracks, were easily prevail'd on to part with Portions 
of Territory to the new Comers, who did not much interfere 


with the Natives in Hunting, and furnish'd them with many 
Things they wanted. 

6. Land being thus plenty in America, and so cheap as 
that a labouring man, that understands Husbandry, can in 
a short Time save Money enough to purchase a Piece of new 
Land sufficient for a Plantation, whereon he may sub- 
sist a Family, such are not afraid to marry ; for, if they even 
look far enough forward to consider how their Children, 
when grown up, are to be provided for, they see that more 
Land is to be had at rates equally easy, all Circumstances 

7. Hence Marriages in America are more general, and more 
generally early, than in Europe. And if it is reckoned there, 
that there is but one Marriage per Annum among 100 per- 
sons, perhaps we may here reckon two; and if in Europe 
they have but 4 Births to a Marriage (many of their Mar- 
riages being late), we may here reckon 8, of which if one half 
grow up, and our Marriages are made, reckoning one with 
another at 20 Years of Age, our People must at least be 
doubled every 20 Years. 

8. But notwithstanding this Increase, so vast is the Terri- 
tory of North America, that it will require many Ages to 
settle it fully ; and, till it is fully settled, Labour will never be 
cheap here, where no Man continues long a Labourer for 
others, but gets a Plantation of his own, no Man continues 
long a Journeyman to a Trade, but goes among those new 
Settlers, and sets up for himself, &c. Hence Labour is no 
cheaper now in Pennsylvania, than it was 30 Years ago, tho' 
so many Thousand labouring People have been imported. 

9. The Danger therefore of these Colonies interfering with 
their Mother Country in Trades that depend on Labour, 

VOL. Ill F 


Manufactures, &c., is too remote to require the attention of 

10. But in Proportion to the Increase of the Colonies, a 
vast Demand is growing for British Manufactures, a glori- 
ous Market wholly in the Power of Britain, in which For- 
eigners cannot interfere, which will increase in a short Time 
even beyond her Power of supplying, tho' her whole Trade 
should be to her Colonies : Therefore Britain should not too 
much restrain Manufactures in her Colonies. A wise and 
good Mother will not do it. To distress, is to weaken, and 
weakening the Children weakens the whole Family. 

11. Besides if the Manufactures of Britain (by reason of 
the American Demands) should rise too high in Price, For- 
eigners who can sell cheaper will drive her Merchants out 
of Foreign Markets; Foreign Manufactures will thereby 
be encouraged and increased, and consequently foreign 
Nations, perhaps her Rivals in Power, grow more populous 
and more powerful; while her own Colonies, kept too low, 
are unable to assist her, or add to her Strength. 

12. 5 Tis an ill-grounded Opinion that by the Labour of 
slaves, America may possibly vie in Cheapness of Manufac- 
tures with Britain. The Labour of Slaves can never be so 
cheap here as the Labour of working Men is in Britain. Any 
one may compute it. Interest of Money is in the Colonies 
from 6 to 10 per Cent. Slaves one with another cost 30^ 
Sterling per Head. Reckon then the Interest of the first 
Purchase of a Slave, the Insurance or Risque on his Life, 
his Cloathing and Diet, Expences in his Sickness and Loss of 
Time, Loss by his Neglect of Business (Neglect is natural 
to the Man who is not to be benefited by his own Care or 
Diligence), Expence of a Driver to keep him at Work, and 


his Pilfering from Time to Time, almost every Slave being 
by Nature a Thief, and compare the whole Amount with 
the Wages of a Manufacturer of Iron or Wool in England, 
you will see that Labour is much cheaper there than it ever 
can be by Negroes here. Why then will Americans pur- 
chase Slaves ? Because Slaves may be kept as long as a Man 
pleases, or has Occasion for their Labour ; while hired Men 
are continually leaving their masters (often in the midst of 
his Business,) and setting up for themselves. Sec. 8. 

13. As the Increase of People depends on the Encourage- 
ment of Marriages, the following Things must diminish a 
Nation, viz. i. The being conquered; for the Conquerors 
will engross as many Offices, and exact as much Tribute or 
Profit on the Labour of the conquered, as will maintain 
them in their new Establishment, and this diminishing the 
Subsistence of the Natives, discourages their Marriages, and 
so gradually diminishes them, while the foreigners increase. 
2. Loss oj Territory. Thus, the Britons being driven into 
Wales, and crowded together in a barren Country insuffi- 
cient to support such great Numbers, diminished 'till the 
People bore a Proportion to the Produce, while the Saxons 
increased on their abandoned lands ; till the Island became 
full of English. And, were the English now driven into Wales 
by some foreign Nation, there would in a few Years, be no 
more Englishmen in Britain, than there are now people in 
Wales. 3. Loss of Trade. Manufactures exported, draw 
Subsistence from Foreign Countries for Numbers; who are 
thereby enabled to marry and raise Families. If the Nation 
be deprived of any Branch of Trade, and no new Employ- 
ment is found for the People occupy 'd in that Branch, it 
will also be soon deprived of so many People. 4. Loss oj 


Food. Suppose a Nation has a Fishery, which not only em- 
ploys great Numbers, but makes the Food and Subsistence 
of the People cheaper. If another Nation becomes Master 
of the Seas, and prevents the Fishery, the People will dimin- 
ish in Proportion as the Loss of Employ and Dearness of 
Provision, makes it more difficult to subsist a Family. 5. 
Bad Government and insecure Property. People not only 
leave such a Country, and settling Abroad incorporate 
with other Nations, lose their native Language, and become 
Foreigners, but, the Industry of those that remain being 
discouraged, the Quantity of Subsistence in the Country is 
lessened, and the Support of a Family becomes more diffi- 
cult. So heavy Taxes tend to diminish a People. 6. The 
Introduction of Slaves. The Negroes brought into the Eng- 
lish Sugar Islands have greatly diminished the Whites there ; 
the Poor are by this Means deprived of Employment, 
while a few Families acquire vast Estates ; which they spend 
on Foreign Luxuries, and educating their Children in the 
Habit of those Luxuries ; the same Income is needed for the 
Support of one that might have maintained 100. The 
Whites who have Slaves, not labouring, are enfeebled, and 
therefore not so generally prolific; the Slaves being work'd 
too hard, and ill fed, their Constitutions are broken, and the 
Deaths among them are more than the Births; so that a 
continual Supply is needed from Africa. The Northern 
Colonies, having few Slaves, increase in Whites. Slaves also 
pejorate * the Families that use them ; the white Children 
become proud, disgusted with Labour, and being educated 
in Idleness, are rendered unfit to get a Living by Industry. 
14. Hence the Prince that acquires new Territory, if he finds 

1 See letter to Hume, September 27, 1760. ED. 


it vacant, or removes the Natives to give his own People 
Room ; the Legislator that makes effectual Laws for promot- 
ing of Trade, increasing Employment, improving Land by 
more or better Tillage, providing more Food by Fisheries ; 
securing Property, &c. and the Man that invents new 
Trades, Arts, or Manufactures, or new Improvements in 
Husbandry, may be properly called Fathers of their Nation, 
as they are the Cause of the Generation of Multitudes, by 
the Encouragement they afford to Marriage. 

15. As to Privileges granted to the married, (such as the 
Jus trium Liber orum among the Romans,) they may hasten 
the filling of a Country that has been thinned by War or 
Pestilence, or that has otherwise vacant Territory; but can- 
not increase a People beyond the Means provided for their 

16. Foreign Luxuries and needless Manufactures, im- 
ported and used in a Nation, do, by the same Reasoning, 
increase the People of the Nation that furnishes them, 
and diminish the People of the Nation that uses them. 
Laws, therefore, that prevent such Importations, and on 
the contrary promote the Exportation of Manufactures to 
be consumed in Foreign Countries, may be called (with Re- 
spect to the People that make them) generative Laws, as, 
by increasing Subsistence they encourage Marriage. Such 
Laws likewise strengthen a Country, doubly, by increasing 
its own People and diminishing its Neighbours. 

17. Some European Nations prudently refuse to con- 
sume the Manufactures of East-India: They should like- 
wise forbid them to their Colonies; for the Gain to the 
Merchant is not to be compar'd with the Loss, by this 
Means, of People to the Nation. 


1 8. Home Luxury in the Great increases the Nation's 
Manufacturers employ'd by it, who are many, and only 
tends to diminish the Families that indulge in it, who are few. 
The greater the common fashionable Expence of any Rank 
of People, the more cautious they are of Marriage. There- 
fore Luxury should never be suffered to become common. 

19. The great Increase of Offspring in particular Families 
is not always owing to greater Fecundity of Nature, but 
sometimes to Examples of Industry in the Heads, and in- 
dustrious Education; by which the Children are enabled 
to provide better for themselves, and their marrying early 
is encouraged from the Prospect of good Subsistence. 

20. If there be a Sect, therefore, in our Nation, that re- 
gard Frugality and Industry as religious Duties, and edu- 
cate their Children therein, more than others commonly 
do; such Sect must consequently increase more by natural 
Generation, than any other sect in Britain. 

21. The Importation of Foreigners into a Country, that 
has as many Inhabitants as the present Employments and 
Provisions for Subsistence will bear, will be in the End no 
Increase of People; unless the New Comers have more In- 
dustry and Frugality than the Natives, and then they will 
provide more Subsistence, and increase in the Country; but 
they will gradually eat the Natives out. Nor is it necessary 
to bring in Foreigners to fill up any occasional Vacancy in 
a Country; for such Vacancy (if the Laws are good, sec. 14, 
1 6,) will soon be filled by natural Generation. Who can 
now find the Vacancy made in Sweden, France, or other 
Warlike Nations, by the Plague of Heroism, 40 years ago; 
in France, by the Expulsion of the Protestants; in Eng- 
land, by the Settlement of her Colonies ; or in Guinea, by 100 


Years Exportation of Slaves, that has blacken'd half Amer- 
ica? The thinness of Inhabitants in Spain is owing to 
National Pride and Idleness, and other Causes, rather than 
to the Expulsion of the Moors, or to the making of new 

22. There is, in short, no Bound to the prolific Nature of 
Plants or Animals, but what is made by their crowding and 
interfering with each other's means of Subsistence. Was 
the Face of the Earth vacant of other Plants, it might be 
gradually sowed and overspread with one Kind only ; as, for 
Instance, with Fennel; and were it empty of other Inhab- 
itants, it might in a few Ages be replenish'd from one 
Nation only; as, for Instance, with Englishmen. Thus 
there are supposed to be now upwards of One Million 
English Souls in North- America, (tho' 'tis thought scarce 
80,000 have been brought over Sea,) and yet perhaps 
there is not one the fewer in Britain, but rather many more, 
on Account of the Employment the Colonies afford to Man- 
ufacturers at Home. This Million doubling, suppose but 
once in 25 Years, will, in another Century, be more than the 
People of England, and the greatest Number of English- 
men will be on this Side the Water. What an Accession of 
Power to the British Empire by Sea as well as Land ! What 
Increase of Trade and Navigation! What Numbers of 
Ships and Seamen ! We have been here but little more than 
100 years, and yet the Force of our Privateers in the late 
War, united, was greater, both in Men and Guns, than that 
of the whole British Navy in Queen Elizabeth's Time. How 
important an Affair then to Britain is the present Treaty for 
settling the Bounds between her Colonies and the French, 
and how careful should she be to secure Room enough, 


since on the Room depends so much the Increase of her 

23. In fine, a Nation well regulated is like a Polypus; 
take away a Limb, its Place is soon supply'd ; cut it in two, 
and each deficient Part shall speedily grow out of the Part 
remaining. Thus if you have Room and Subsistence enough, 
as you may by dividing, make ten Polypes out of one, you 
may of one make ten Nations, equally populous and power- 
ful; or rather increase a Nation ten fold in Numbers and 
Strength. 1 

And since Detachments of English from Britain, sent 
to America, will have their Places at Home so soon supply'd 
and increase so largely here; why should the Palatine 
Boors be suffered to swarm into our Settlements and, by 
herding together, establish their Language and Manners, 
to the Exclusion of ours? Why should Pennsylvania, 
founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who 
will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of 
our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language 
or Customs any more than they can acquire our Complexion ? 

24. Which leads me to add one Remark, that the Number 
of purely white People in the World is proportionably very 
small. All Africa is black or tawny; Asia chiefly tawny; 
America (exclusive of the new Comers) wholly so. And in 
Europe, the Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians, and 
Swedes, are generally of what we call a swarthy Complexion ; 
as are the Germans also, the Saxons only excepted, who, 
with the English, make the principal Body of White People 
on the Face of the Earth. I could wish their Numbers 
were increased. And while we are, as I may call it, Scour- 

1 Here the essay ends in all publications, except Clarke's pamphlet. ED. 


ing our Planet, by clearing America of Woods, and so making 
this Side of our Globe reflect a brighter Light to the Eyes 
of Inhabitants in Mars or Venus, why should we, in the Sight 
of Superior Beings, darken its People? Why increase the 
Sons of Africa, by planting them in America, where we have 
so fair an Opportunity, by excluding all Blacks and Tawneys, 
of increasing the lovely White and Red? But perhaps I 
am partial to the Complexion of my Country, for such Kind 
of Partiality is natural to Mankind. 


Philadelphia, January 24, 1752. 


I am glad to learn, by your favour of the 2ist past, that 
Mr. Kinnersley's lectures have been acceptable to the gentle- 
men of Boston, and are like to prove serviceable to himself. 

I thank you for the countenance and encouragement you 
have so kindly afforded my fellow-citizen. 

I send you enclosed an extract of a letter containing the 
substance of what I observed concerning the communica- 
tion of magnetism to needles by Electricity. The minutes 
I took at the time of the experiments are mislaid. I am 
very little acquainted with the nature of magnetism. Dr. 
Gawin Knight, 2 inventor of the steel magnets, has wrote 

1 Read at the Royal Society, May 27, 1756. Printed in " Experiments and 
Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, p. 173. 

2 Gowin Knight (1713-1772) presented the first results of his researches 
in magnetism to the Royal Society in 1744 (Phil. Trans. XLIII, 161). He 
was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1746, and was awarded the 
Copley gold medal in 1747. His chief scientific rival was Franklin's friend, 
John Canton. 


largely on that subject; but I have not yet had leisure to 
peruse his writings with the attention necessary to become 
master of his doctrine. 

Your explication of the crooked direction of lightning 
appears to me both ingenious and solid. When we can 
account as satisfactorily for the electrification of clouds, I 
think that branch of Natural Philosophy will be nearly 

The air, undoubtedly, obstructs the motion of the electric 
fluid. Dry air prevents the dissipation of an electric atmos- 
phere, the denser the more, as in cold weather. I question 
whether such an atmosphere can be retained by a body 
in vacua. A common electrical vial requires a non-electric 
communication from the wire to every part of the charged 
glass; otherwise, being dry and clean, and filled with air 
only, it charges slowly, and discharges gradually by sparks, 
without a shock: But, exhausted of air, the communication 
is so open and free between the inserted wire and surface 
of the glass, that it charges as readily, and shocks as smartly 
as if filled with water: And I doubt not, but that, in the 
experiment you propose, the sparks would not only be near 
strait in vacua, but strike at a greater distance than in the 
open air, though perhaps there would not be a loud explosion. 
As soon as I have a little leisure, I will make the experiment, 
and send you the result. 

My supposition, that the sea might possibly be the grand 
source of lightning, arose from the common observation of 
its luminous appearance in the night, on the least motion; 
an appearance never observed in fresh water. Then I 
knew, that the electric fluid may be pumped up out of the 
earth, by the friction of a glass globe, on a non-electric 


cushion; and that, notwithstanding the surprizing activity 
and swiftness of that fluid, and the non-electric communica- 
tion between all parts of the cushion and the earth, yet 
quantities would be snatch'd up by the revolving surface 
of the globe, thrown on the prime conductor, and dissipated 
in air. How this was done, and why that subtile, active 
spirit did not immediately return again from the globe into 
some part or other of the cushion, and so into the earth, was 
difficult to conceive; but, whether from its being opposed 
by a current setting upwards to the cushion, or from what- 
ever other cause, that it did not so return was an evident 
fact. Then I considered the separate particles of water as 
so many hard spherules, capable of touching the salt only in 
points, and imagined a particle of salt could therefore no 
more be wet by a particle of water, than a globe by a cushion ; 
that there might therefore be such a friction between these 
originally constituent particles of salt and water, as in a sea 
of globes and cushions; that each particle of water on the 
surface might obtain, from the common mass, some particles 
of the universally diffused, much finer, and more subtil 
electric fluid, and, forming to itself an atmosphere of those 
particles, be repelled from the then generally electrified 
surface of the sea, and fly away with them into the air. I 
thought, too, that possibly the great mixture of particles 
electric per se y in the ocean water, might, in some degree, 
impede the swift motion and dissipation of the electric fluid 
through it to the shores, &c. But, having since found, 
that salt in the water of an electric vial does not lessen the 
shock; and having endeavoured in vain to produce that 
luminous appearance from a mixture of salt and water 
agitated; and observed, that even the sea- water will not 


produce it after some hours standing in a bottle; I suspect 
it to proceed from some principle yet unknown to us (which 
I would gladly make some experiments to discover, if I 
lived near the sea), and I grow more doubtful of my former 
supposition, and more ready to allow weight to that objec- 
tion (drawn from the activity of the electric fluid, and the 
readiness of water to conduct), which you have indeed stated 
with great strength and clearness. 

In the mean time, before we part with this hypothesis, 
let us think what to substitute in its place. I have some- 
times queried, whether the friction of the air, an electric 
fer se, in violent winds, umong trees, and against the surface 
of the earth, might not pump up, as so many glass globes, 
quantities of the electric fluid, which the rising vapours 
might receive from the air, and retain in the clouds they form? 
on which I should be glad to have your sentiments. An 
ingenious friend of mine supposes the land clouds more likely 
to be electrified than the sea clouds. I send his letter for 
your perusal, which please to return me. 

I have wrote nothing lately on Electricity, nor ob- 
served any thing new that is material, my time being much 
taken up with other affairs. Yesterday I discharged four 
jars through a fine wire, tied up between two strips of glass ; 
the wire was in part melted, and the rest broke into small 
pieces, from half an inch long, to half a quarter of an inch. 
My globe raises the electric fire with greater ease, in much 
greater quantities, by the means of a wire extended from the 
cushion, to the iron pin of a pump-handle behind my house, 
which communicates by the pump-spear with the water in 
the well. 

By this post I send to . . . l who is curious in that 

1 Dr. Perkins. ED. 

1752] TO JARED ELIOT 77 

way, some meteorological observations and conjectures, 
and desire him to communicate them to you, as they may 
afford you some amusement, and I know you will look over 
them with a candid eye. By throwing our occasional thoughts 
on paper, we more readily discover the defects of our opin- 
ions, or we digest them better, and find new arguments to 
support them. This I sometimes practice ; but such pieces 
are fit only to be seen by friends. 

I am, &c. 



Philadelphia, Feb. 4, 1752. 


I received your fav'r by my Son, and return my Thanks 
for your kind Entertainm't of him at your House. I 
delivered yours to my Friend Bartram, and enclose you 
his answer. He is much pleased with the Prospect of a 
continued Correspondence with you. He is a Man of no 
Letters, but a curious Observer of Nature. 

I like very well the Paragraph you propose to insert, 
concerning Mr. Jackson's Papers; except the last Line, to 
wit, "The Improvement of it must be deferred till another 
Year;'* instead of which I would say, // cannot now be in- 
serted, but shall be in our next. My reasons are, that I think, 
in the first Place, your ESSAYS ought to be more frequent 
than once a Year; next, that 'tis pity, if Mr. Jackson's Papers 
would be advantageous to the Publick, a whole Year's 
Benefit of them should be lost; thirdly, I think he will be 
at a Loss to know why, since your Essay was not quite 


finish'd and publish'd, his Papers might not as well have 
been added now ; and indeed I think you had best add them, 
unless you intend speedily another Essay. Lastly, I object 
to the Word Improvement, which, in the Sense you use it, 
is peculiar to New England, and will not be understood 
elsewhere. It will look as if you propos'd to alter it for the 
better, correct, or amend it, such being the common mean- 
ing of the word Improved 

Every Colony has some Peculiar Expressions, familiar 
to its own People, but strange and unintelligible to others. 
But this is not to be wonder'd at, since the same may be 
observed in the different Counties of England. I know you 
will excuse this Freedom, and that I need make no Apology 
for it. I am, with great Respect, dear Sir, 

Your most hum Serv* 



[Philadelphia] March 2, 1752. 


I thank you for the Experiments communicated. I sent 
immediately for your brimstone globe, in order to make 
the trials you desired, but found it wanted centers, which 
I have not time now to supply; but, the first leisure I will 
get it fitted for use, try the experiments, and acquaint you 
with the result. 

In the mean time I suspect, that the different attractions 

1 See letter to Noah Webster, December 26, 1789. ED. 

2 From "Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, 
p. 102. 


and repulsions you observed, proceeded rather from the 
greater or smaller quantities of the fire you obtained from 
different bodies, than from its being of a different kind, 
or having a different direction. In haste, 

I am, &c. 



[Philadelphia] March 16, 1752. 

Having brought your brimstone globe to work, I tried 
one of the experiments you proposed, and was agreeably 
surprised to find that the glass globe being at one end of 
the conductor, and the sulphur globe at the other end, both 
globes in motion, no spark could be obtained from the con- 
ductor, unless when one globe turned slower, or was not in 
so good order as the other; and then the spark was only in 
proportion to the difference, so that turning equally, or 
turning that slowest which worked best, would again bring 
the conductor to afford no spark. 

I found also, that the wire of a phial charg'd by the glass 
globe, attracted a cork ball that had touch'd the wire of a 
phial charged by the brimstone globe, and vice versa, so 
that the cork continued to play between the two phials, just 
as when one phial was charged through the wire, the other 
through the coating, by the glass globe alone. And two 
phials charged, the one by the brimstone globe, the other by 
the glass globe, would be both discharged by bringing their 
wires together, and shock the person holding the phials. 

1 From "Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, 
p. 103. 


From these experiments one may be certain, that your 
2d, 3d, and 4th proposed experiments would succeed exactly 
as you suppose, though I have not tried them, wanting time. 
I imagine it is the glass globe that charges positively, and 
the sulphur negatively, for these reasons, i. Though the 
sulphur globe seems to work equally well with the glass one, 
yet it can never occasion so large and distant a spark between 
my knuckle and the conductor, when the sulphur one is 
working, as when the glass one is used; which, I suppose, 
is occasioned by this, that bodies of a certain bigness cannot 
so easily part with a quantity of electrical fluid they have 
and hold attracted within their substance, as they can re- 
ceive an additional quantity upon their surface by way of 
atmosphere. Therefore so much cannot be drawn out of 
the conductor, as can be thrown on it. 2. I observe that 
the stream or brush of fire, appearing at the end of a wire, 
connected with the conductor, is long, large, and much 
diverging, when the glass globe is used, and makes a snap- 
ping (or rattling) noise ; but, when the sulphur one is used, 
it is short, small, and makes a hissing noise; and just the 
reverse of both happens, when you hold the same wire in 
your hand, and the globes are worked alternately; the brush 
is large, long, diverging, and snapping (or rattling), when 
the sulphur globe is turn'd ; short, small, and hissing, when 
the glass globe is turn'd. When the brush is long, large, 
and much diverging, the body to which it joins, seems to me 
to be throwing the fire out ; and when the contrary appears, 
it seems to be drinking in. 3. I observe, that when I hold 
my knuckle before the sulphur globe, while turning, the 
stream of fire between my knuckle and the globe, seems to 
spread on its surface, as if it flowed from the finger; on 


the glass globe it is otherwise. 4. The cool wind (or what 
was called so), that we used to feel as coming from an elec- 
trified point, is, I think, more sensible when the glass globe 
is used, than when the sulphur one. But these are hasty 
thoughts. As to your fifth paradox, it must likewise be true, 
if the globes are alternately worked; but, if worked to- 
gether, the fire will neither come up nor go down by the 
chain, because one globe will drink it as fast as the other 
produces it. 

I should be glad to know, whether the effects would be 
contrary if the glass globe is solid, and the sulphur globe is 
hollow; but I have no means at present of trying. 

In your journeys, your glass globes meet with accidents, 
and sulphur ones are heavy and inconvenient. Query. 
Would not a thin plane of brimstone, cast on a board, serve 
on occasion as a cushion, while a globe of leather stuffed 
(properly mounted) might receive the fire from the sulphur, 
and charge the conductor positively? Such a globe would 
be in no danger of breaking. 1 I think I can conceive how 
it may be done ; but have not time to add more than that 

I am, Yours, &c. 



Philadelphia, March 21, 1752. 

DEAR SIR : I wrote to you in the winter via New York, 
for a few books, and sent a bill of 30 Barbadoes currency. 
The first is enclosed. I hope it came to hand in time enough 

1 The discoveries of the late ingenious Mr. Symmer, on the positive and 
negative Electricity produced by the mutual friction of white and black silk, 
&c., afford hints for farther improvements to be made with this view. F. 
VOL. ill G 


for you to meet with the gentleman and get the money. 
He is captain of the ship, and was to be found at the New 
England coffee-house, but probably may be gone before 
you receive this. They were mostly school books and I 
have mislaid the original list, so cannot send a copy. 

The books for the Trenton Library arrived safe and I. 
believe gave satisfaction. 

I want yet Vol. 17 of the Universal History in blue covers, 
to complete set. 

My wife and children join in sincerest wishes of happiness 
to you and yours, with, dear sir, your obliged humble servant, 


135. TO CADWALLADER GOLDEN 1 (A. p. s.) 

Philadelphia, April 23, '52. 


In considering your Fav r of the i6th past, I recol- 
lected my having wrote you Answers to some Queries con- 
cerning the Difference between El per se, and Non-Els, and 
the Effects of Air in El. Experiments, which, I apprehend, 
you may not have received. The Date I have forgot. 

We have been us'd to call those Bodies Els per se, which 
would not conduct the Electric Fluid; we once imagin'd 
that only such Bodies contained that Fluid; afterwards 
that they contain'd none of it, [and only educed it from other 
bodies;] but farther Experiments shew'd our Mistakes. 
It is to be found in all Matter we know of; And the Dis- 
tinction of Els per se, and Non-Els, should now be dropt as 

1 Read at the Royal Society, November u, 1756, and published in "Ex- 
periments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1 769, p. 262. Reprinted 
here from the original Ms. in A. P. S. 


improper, and that of Cond rs and Non Cond r * assum'd in 
its place, as I mention'd in those Answers. 

I do not remember any Experiment by which it appeared 
that high Rectified Spirit will not conduct ; perhaps you have 
made such. This I know, that Wax, Rosin, Brimstone, and 
even Glass, commonly reputed Electrics per se t will, when 
in a fluid State, conduct pretty well. Glass will do it, when 
only red-hot. So that my former Position, that only Metals 
and Water were Conductors, and other Bodies more or less 
such, as they partook of Metal or Moisture, was too general. 

Your Conception of the El. Fluid, that it is incomparably 
more subtile than Air, is undoubtedly just. It pervades 
dense Matter with the greatest Ease. But it does not seem 
to mix or incorporate v 'llingly with meer Air, as it does with 
other Matter. It will not quit common Matter to join with 
Air. Air obstructs in some Degree its Motion. An Electric 
Atmosphere cannot be communicated at so great a Distance, 
thro' intervening Air, by far, as thro' a Vacuum. Who 
knows then, but there may be, as the Ancients thought, a 
Region of this Fire above our Atmosphere, prevented by 
our Air, and its own too great Distance for Attraction, from 
joining our Earth? Perhaps where the Atmosphere is 
rarest, this Fluid may be densest, and nearer the Earth 
where the Atmosphere grows denser, this Fluid may be 
rarer, yet some of it be low enough to attach itself to our 
highest Clouds and thence they becoming electrified may 
be attracted by, and descend towards the Earth, and dis- 
charge their watry Contents, together with that Ethereal 
Fire. Perhaps the Aurorae Boreales are Currents of this 
Fluid in its own Region, above our Atmosphere, becoming 
from their Motion visible. There is no End to Conjectures. 


As yet we are but Novices in this Branch of Natural Know- 

You mention several Differences of Salts in Electrical 
Experiments. Were they all equally dry? Salt is apt to 
acquire Moisture from a moist Air, and some sorts more 
than others. When perfectly dry'd by lying before a Fire, 
or on a Stove, none that I have try'd will conduct any better 
than so much Glass. 

New Flannel, if dry and warm, will draw the El. Fluid 
from Non- Electrics, as well as that which has been worn. 

I wish you had the Convenience of trying the Experiments 
you seem to have such Expectations from, upon various 
kinds of Spirits, Salts, Earths, &c. Frequently, in a Variety 
of Exp 15 tho' we miss what we expected to find, yet something 
valuable turns out, something surprizing, and instructing, tho' 
unthought of. I am glad your Piece on the Principles of 
Action in Matter, with the Explanations, is likely soon to 
appear. I hope it may be printed correctly. Tracts on un- 
common Subjects, when the Author is at a Distance fre- 
quently suffer much in the Press, thro' the Ignorance of the 
Workmen. I think my Letters were almost as fairly wrote, 
as Print itself, yet they were publish 'd with several Errata 
that render particular Parts quite unintelligible. 

I thank you for communicating the Illustration of the 
Theorem concerning Light. It is very curious. But I 
must own I am much in the Dark about Light. I am not 
satisfy'd with the Doctrine that supposes Particles of Matter 
call'd Light, continually driven off from the Sun's Surface, 
with a Swiftness so prodigious! Must not the smallest 
Particle conceivable have, with such a Motion, a Force 
exceeding that of a 24 pounder, discharg'd from a Cannon? 


Must not the Sun diminish exceedingly by such a Waste of 
Matter, and the Planets, instead of drawing nearer to him, 
as some have feared, recede to greater Distances, thro' the 
lessened Attraction? Yet these Particles, with this amazing 
Motion, will not drive before them, or remove, the least and 
lightest Dust they meet with. And the Sun for aught we 
know continues of his ancient Dimensions, and his Attendants 
move in their ancient Orbits. 

May not all the Phaenomena of Light be more conveniently 
solved, by supposing universal Space filled with a subtle 
elastic Fluid, which, when at rest, is not visible, but whose 
Vibrations affect that fine Sense the Eye, as those of Air do 
the grosser Organs of the Ear? We do not, in the Case of 
Sound, imagine that any sonorous Particles are thrown off 
from a Bell, for Instance, and fly in strait Lines to the Ear ; 
why must we believe that luminous Particles leave the Sun 
and proceed to the Eye ? Some Diamonds, if rubbed, shine 
in the Dark, without losing any Part of their Matter. I can 
make an Electrical Spark as big as the Flame of a Candle, 
much brighter, and, therefore, visible farther, yet this is 
without Fuel; and, I am persuaded no part of the Electric 
Fluid flies off in such Case to distant Places, but all goes 
directly, and is to be found in the Place to which I destine 
it. May not different Degrees of Vibration of the above- 
mentioned Universal Medium occasion the Appearances of 
different Colours ? I think the Electric Fluid is always the 
same ; yet I find that weaker and stronger Sparks differ in 
apparent Colour ; some white, blue, purple, red ; the strongest, 
White ; weak ones, red. Thus different Degrees of Vibration 
given to the Air produce the 7 different Sounds in Music, 
analogous to the 7 Colours, yet the Medium, Air, is the same. 


If the sun is not wasted by Expence of Light, I can easily 
conceive that he shall otherwise always retain the same 
^Quantity of Matter; tho' we should suppose him made of 
Sulphur constantly flaming. The Action of Fire only sepa- 
rates the Particles of Matter; it does not annihilate them: 
Water by Heat rais'd in Vapour, returns to the Earth in 
Rain. And if we could collect all the Particles of burning 
Matter that go off in Smoke, perhaps they might, with the 
Ashes, weigh as much as the Body before it was fired; and, 
if we could put them into the same Position with regard to 
each other, the Mass would be the same as before, and might 
be burnt over again. The Chemists have analysed Sulphur, 
and find it compos'd, in certain Proportions, of Oil, Salt, 
and Earth; and, having by the Analysis discovered those 
Proportions, they can, of those Ingredients, make Sulphur. 
So we have only to suppose, that the Parts of the Sun's Sul- 
phur, separated by Fire, rise into his Atmosphere, there, 
being freed from the immediate Action of the Fire, they 
collect into cloudy Masses, and growing by degrees too 
heavy to be longer supported, they descend to the Sun, and 
are burnt over again. Hence the Spots appearing on his 
Face, which are observed to diminish daily in Size, their 
consuming Edges being of particular Brightness. 

It is well we are not, as poor Galileo was, subject to the 
Inquisition for Philosophical Heresy. My Whispers against 
the orthodox Doctrine, in private Letters, would be dangerous ; 
but your Writing and Printing would be highly criminal. As 
it is, you must expect some Censure; but one Heretic will 
surely excuse another. 

I am heartily glad to hear more Instances of the success 
of the Poke- Weed, in the Cure of that horrible Evil to the 


human Body, a Cancer. You will deserve highly of Man- 
kind for the Communication. But I find in Boston they 
are at a Loss to know the right Plant, some asserting it is 
what they call mechoacan, others other Things. In one of 
their late Papers it is publickly requested, that a perfect 
Description may be given of the Plant, its Places of Growth, 
&c. I have mislaid the Paper, or would send it to you. I 
tho't you had described it pretty fully. 1 

With great Respect and Esteem etc. 


SIR, Philadelphia, May 14, 1752. 

I find P has been indiscreet enough to print a piece 

in his paper, which has brought him into a great deal of 
trouble. 8 I cannot conceive how he was prevailed on to do 
it, as I know him to be a thorough believer himself, and 

1 In a letter to M. Dubourg, dated March 27, 1773, Franklin writes: "I 
apprehend that our poke-weed is what the botanists term phytolacca. This 
plant bears berries as large as peas ; the skin is black, but it contains a crim- 
son juice. It is this juice, thickened by evaporation in the sun, which was 
employed. It caused great pain, but some persons were said to have been 
cured. I am not quite certain of the facts ; all that I know is, that Dr. Golden 
had a good opinion of the remedy." ED. 

* First printed by Sparks. 

8 James Parker, publisher of the Nau York Gazette revived in the Weekly 
Post Boy. It was founded as The New York Weekly Post Boy, January, 1743, 
and the title was changed January 19, 1747. The article in question appeared 
April 27, 1752 (No. 485). In it a feigned chief of the Indians exploited the 
principles of Deism. In the next number (May 4, 1752) appeared the follow- 
ing note : " The Printer of this Paper can't conceive why any Person should be 
alarm'd. . . . He apprehends the Christian Religion to be built on a better 
Foundation, than to be moved at any thing can be said against it ; For 
tho' that Piece is not at all agreeable to his Religious Principles, yet he is 
willing to give the Advarsaries to Christianity a fair Hearing, and such can 


averse to every thing that is commonly called jreethinking. 
He is now much in his penitentials, and requests me to inter- 
cede with you, to procure from the governor a NoL Pros, in his 
favour, promising to be very circumspect and careful for the 
future, not to give offence either in religion or politics, to you 
or any of your friends, in which, I believe, he is very sincere. 

I have let him know, that I pretend to no interest with 
you, and I fear he has behaved to the governor and to you 
in such a manner, as not to deserve your favour. Therefore 
I only beg leave to recommend the poor man's case to your 
consideration; and, if you could, without inconvenience to 
your own character, interest yourself a little in his behalf, 
I shall, as I am much concerned for him, esteem it a very 
great obligation. 

As to the cause of religion, I really think it will be best 
served by stopping the prosecution; for, if there be any 
evil tendency apprehended from the publication of that 
piece, the trial and punishment of the printer will certainly 
make it a thousand times more public, such is the curiosity 
of mankind in these cases. It is, besides, an old thing, has 
been printed before both in England and by Andrew Brad- 
ford here; but, no public notice being taken of it, it died 
and was forgotten, as I believe it would now be, if treated 
with the same indifference. I am with great respect, &c. 


only conduce to make it shine brighter ; for it may easily be observed, that 
those People who pretend to Morality only, are generally more prone to 
Malice and Vice than others. . . . And as Example pleads more than Pre- 
cept, he is assured that Christianity has always produced the best ; and if it 
be asked, why Vice and Imorality abound so much at present among nominal 
Christians ; it may be truly answered, that 'tis their Degeneracy from their 
Principles, and not the Fault of their Religion." ED. 



Philadelphia, May 21, 1752. 


I received yours with the affecting news of our dear good 
mother's death. I thank you for your long continued 
care of her in her old age and sickness. Our distance made 
it impracticable for us to attend her, but you have supplied 
all. She has lived a good life, as well as a long one, and is 

Since I sent you the order on Mr. Huske, I have received 
his account, and find he thinks he has money to receive, and, 
though I endeavour by this post to convince him he is 
mistaken, yet possibly he may not be immediately satisfied, 
so as to pay that order; therefore, lest the delay should be 
inconvenient to you, I send the six pistoles enclosed. But, 
if the order is paid, give those to brother John, and desire 
him to credit my account with them. Your affectionate 



138. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 2 (p. H. s.) 

Philada June 20. 1752 


I received yours of Jan. 17. with the two Vols. of Viner, 
in good Order: but the Ship proving leaky; the water got 
into the Box containing poor Sally's Dressing Glass, by 

1 From "A Collection of the Familiar Letters, etc., of Benjamin Franklin, 
Boston, 1833," p. 22. 

3 Original in the Dreer collection, P. H. S. ED. 


which means the Glue being dissolved, the Frame parted, 
the Glass dropt out and broke to pieces, and the Wood 
Work is so twisted and cast out of Shape in drying again, 
that nothing fits, and the whole is not, in my Opinion worth 
a farthing; tho' the Surveyors have valu'd it at \ prime 
cost. I am thus particular, supposing you insur'd it with 
the other Goods you then sent, and that possibly something 
may be recovered towards another. 

Honest David Martin, 1 Rector of our Academy, my prin- 
cipal Antagonist at Chess is dead, and the few remaining 
Players here are very indifferent, so that I have now no 
need of Stammas i2/ Pamphlet, and am glad you did not 
send it. 

By Mesnard, Sally's Books came to hand in good Order: 
But a 4to Bible with Cuts, charged in the Invoice, was not 
in the Trunk: Instead of it, there was a 2 d Vol. of Fosters 
Nat. Religion in boards, which I keep, having the first. 

I am not well enough acquainted with the Book-Sellers 
in New England to venture recommending, or advising you 
to deal with any of them unless for ready Cash. In general, 
the People there are artful to get into Debt, and pay badly. 
If I should ever make another Journey thither, I could, 
when on the Spot, judge better of Persons, and perhaps be 
of some Service. 

Enclos'd is a Bill of 50^ Sterling, drawn by Pole & 
Ho well on W m Baker Esqr. Merch London, with a List of 
Books for the Library Company. As this is the first Time 
of their Dealing with you, they will inspect the Invoice 
pretty curiously, therefore I hope you will be careful to 
procure the Books as cheap as possible. The Company 
iSee p. 62. ED. 

1752] TO SAMUEL JOHNSON', D.D. 91 

are unacquainted with some of the Books, so that if the 
whole should come to more than 50 with Charges of In- 
surance, &c. they desire you would omit so many as to bring 
it within that Sum; for their Money comes in but once a 
Year, and they do not chuse to lie so long in Debt. 

Please to send me another of Popple's Maps of North 
America, large, on Rollers ; a Pair of Mrs. Senex's improv'd 
Globes, recommended in the Transactions of the Royal 
Society, (or NeaPs improv'd Globes, if thought better than 
Senex's) the best and largest that may be had for (not ex- 
ceeding) Eight Guineas. And a concave Mirror or Burn- 
ing-Glass of about 12 Inches Diameter; with our Account. 
I send by Mr. Stirling 7 French & 2 English Guineas, and 
per next Ship, shall send you a Bill. 

I am sorry to part with that Gentleman just when we 
were beginning to be a little acquainted. I wish he had 
more reason to be satisfied with his Visit to America. 

My Wife & Children join in compliments to you & yours, 
with D r Sir Your most obliged 

humble Serv* 



Philadelphia,/;^ 2, 52. 

REV. SIR, I have sent you, via New York, twenty-four 
of your books bound as those I sent per post. The remainder 
of the fifty are binding in a plainer manner, and shall be 
sent as soon as done and left at Mr. Stuyvesant's as you 

1 From " Life and Correspondence of Samuel Johnson, D.D.," by E. 
Edwards Beardsley, 1874, p. 172. ED. 


Our Academy, which you so kindly inquire after, goes on 
well. Since Mr. Martin's death the Latin and Greek 
Schools have been under the care of Mr. Allison, a Dissent- 
ing Minister, well skilled in those languages and long prac- 
ticed in teaching. But he refused the Rectorship, or to have 
anything to do with the government of the other schools. 
So that remains vacant, and obliges the Trustees to more 
frequent visits. We have now several young gentlemen 
desirous of entering on the study of Philosophy, and lectures 
are to be opened this week. Mr. Allison undertakes Logic 
and Ethics, making your work his text to comment and 
lecture upon. Mr. Peters and some other gentlemen under- 
take the other branches, till we shall be provided with a 
Rector capable of the whole, who may attend wholly to the 
instruction of youth in higher parts of learning as they come 
out fitted from the lower schools. Our proprietors have 
lately wrote that they are extremely well pleased with the 
design, will take our Seminary under their patronage, give 
us a charter, and, as an earnest of their benevolence, Five 
Hundred Pounds sterling. And by our opening a Charity 
School, in which one hundred poor children are taught 
Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic, with the rudiments of 
religion, we have gained the general good will of all sorts 
of people, from whence donations and bequests may be 
reasonably expected to accrue from time to time. This is 
our present situation, and we think it a promising one; 
especially as the reputation of our school increases, the 
masters being all very capable and diligent and giving great 
satisfaction to all concerned. I have heard of no exceptions 
yet made to your work, nor do I expect any, unless to those 
parts that savor of what is called Berkeley anism, which is 


not well understood here. When any occur I shall com- 
municate them. 
With great esteem and respect, I am, dear Sir, 

Your obliged humble serv't 


140. TO SUSANNA WRIGHT 1 (P. c.) 

Philada, July n, 1752. 


I should sooner have answered your Fav'r of the 2yth 
past but that I have been in daily Expectation of getting 
home the Piece you desired which is lent to a Friend. I 
hope to have it ready for the next Post. 

In mean time I send you two Pamphlets in which you 
will have the Pleasure to see a most impudent Imposture 
detected, and the Honour of our great Poet vindicated. 2 

I send also Christianity not founded on Argument, a piece 
that has made a great noise and received many answers, in 
a supposition that it favours Infidelity under the Guise of 
recommending Faith. 

We have had excessive hot weather now near two weeks. 
My Thermometer has been almost every Day at 94 or 95 
one at 97 which is but 3 degrees short of the hot Sunday 

1 From the original in the possession of J. Ewing Mifflin, Esq., of Phila- 
delphia. ED. 

2 William Lauder, a literary forger, attempted to show that Milton had 
borrowed his noblest lines from modern writers of Latin verses. In 1750 
he published "An Essay on Milton's Use and Imitation of the Moderns in 
his Paradise Lost," in which he cited plagiaristic paraphrases of eighteen 
writers. The two pamphlets to which Franklin refers are probably " Milton 
vindicated from the Charge of Plagiarism," by John Douglas, afterwards 
Bishop of Salisbury (1750), and "A Letter to the Rev. Mr. Douglas occa- 
sioned by his Vindication of Milton," by William Lauder, 1751. ED. 


June 1 8th 1749. This Town is a mere Oven. How hap- 
pily situated are our Friends at Hempfield ! I languish for 
the Country, for Air and Shade and Leisure, but Fate has 
doom'd me to be stifled and roasted and teased to death in 
a City. You would not regret the want of City conversa- 
tion if you considered that 9/0 of it is Impertinence. 

My Wife joins in tendering our best Respects to you and 
your good Brothers. 1 

Your intimating to me wherein I can serve you, needs no 
Apology, as if it were giving me Trouble, for it really affords 
me Pleasure and therefore a Favour for which I must acknowl- 
edge myself 

Your obliged Friend 

& Servant 


141. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN (p. c.) 

Philadelphia, August 8, 1752. 

DEAR SIR : I wrote to you on the 2oth of June per Mr. 
Sterling (who I hope is by this time safe arrived in England) 
and sent you a bill of 50 sterling, with a list of books to 
be procured for our library. Enclosed is a copy of the second 

I wrote at the same time for a pair of globes of six or 
eight guineas price ; a concave mirror of twelve inches diam- 
eter and a large Popple's map ; sent you nine guineas, and 
promised a bill per next ship, which I now accordingly send. 
It is 20 sterling drawn by Mary Stevens on Alexr. Grant, 
Esq. When paid please to credit my account with it. 

1 John and James Wright. ED. 


I have only the first volume of Bower's History of y e 
Popes. I hear a second is published ; * please to send it 
bound, dark sprinkled, filleted, and lettered. 

I wrote you a few days since, recommending to your 
notice an old acquaintance, who is bound home from Mary- 
land to obtain holy orders. His name, Matthias Harris. 
Any civilities you show him, as he will be an entire stranger 
in London, I shall gratefully acknowledge. Only I ought 
to acquaint you that he has always had a strong penchant 
to the buying of books, and that some late misfortunes 
have rendered it more inconvenient to him to gratify that 
taste than it has been heretofore. 

My wife, son, and daughter desire to be respectfully 
remembered to you, Mrs. Strahan, and Master Billy. I 
am, dear sir, your obliged humble servant, 



Philadelphia, Aug. 13, 1752. 


I received your favour of the 3d instant. Some time 
last winter I procured from one of our physicians an account 
of the number of persons inoculated during the five visitations 
of the small-pox we have had in 22 years; which account 
I sent to Mr. W. F., of your town, and have no copy. If 

1 The second volume had been published for a considerable time ; the first 
appeared in 1748, the second in 1750, the third in 1754, the fourth in 1759, 
the fifth in 1761, and the sixth and seventh in 1766. ("The History of the 
Popes from the Foundation of the See of Rome to the Present Time. By 
Archibald Bower, Esq.") 

2 From "Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, 
P- 195- 


I remember right, the number exceeded SOD, and the deaths 
were but 4. I suppose Mr. F. will shew you the account, 
if he ever received it. Those four were all that our doctors 
allow to have died of the small-pox by inoculation, though 
I think there were two more of the inoculated who died 
of the distemper; but the eruptions appearing soon after 
the operation, it is supposed they had taken the infection 
before in the common way. 

I shall be glad to see what Dr. Douglass may write on 
the subject. I have a French piece printed at Paris, 1724, 
entitled, Observations sur la Saignee du Pied, et sur la Pur- 
gation, au commencement de la Petite Verole, et Raisons de 
doubte contre I' Inoculation. A letter of the doctor's is men- 
tioned in it. If he or you have it not, and desire to see it, 
I will send it. Please to favour me with the particulars of 
your purging method, to prevent the secondary fever. 

I am indebted for your preceding letter, but business 
sometimes obliges one to postpone philosophical amuse- 
ments. Whatever I have wrote of that kind, are really, 
as they are entitled, but Conjectures and Suppositions; 
which ought always to give place, when careful obser- 
vation militates against them. I own I have too strong 
a penchant to the building of hypotheses; they indulge 
my natural indolence : I wish I had more of your patience 
and accuracy in making observations, on which, alone, true 
philosophy can be founded. And, I assure you, nothing 
can be more obliging to me, than your kind communication 
of those you make, however they may disagree with my 
preconceived notions. 

I am sorry to hear that the number of your inhabit- 
ants decreases. I some time since, wrote a small paper 


of Thoughts on the peopling o) Countries, which, if I can 
find, I will send you, to obtain your sentiments. The 
favourable opinion you express of my writings, may, you 
see, occasion you more trouble than you expected from, 

Sir, yours, &c. 



Philadelphia, September 14, 1752. 


When I had read your favour of May the 2oth, I re- 
solved to read and consider more carefully Sir Isaac Newton's 
Optics, which I have not looked at these many years. I 
delayed answering, till I should have an opportunity of 
doing this, but one thing or other has hitherto hindered. 
In the winter I may possibly have more leisure. 

In the mean time I would just mention, that the inter- 
position of a hill between a bell and the ear does interrupt 
a great part of the sound, though not all; and we cannot 
be certain that an opaque body placed between the eye 
and a luminous object intercepts all the light, since, as you 
observe, it does not follow that where we see no light there 
is therefore none existing. What you say of the separa- 
tion of the distinct parts of light, which, once separated, re- 
main always the same, has more weight with me, and indeed 
seems conclusive ; at least, I see at present nothing to object. 

I congratulate you on the prospect you have, of passing 
the remainder of life in philosophical retirement. I wish 
for the same, but it seems too distant. I might then more 
punctually perform my part in the correspondence you 

1 First printed by Sparks. 

VOL. Ill H 


honour me with ; than which I have none more instructive 
or agreeable. 

Send me, if you please, the translation of your piece 
into High Dutch. I understand a little of the German 
language, and will peruse and return it. At present I 
cannot guess the meaning of the passage you mention. 
Unless perhaps, as your twentieth section speaks of "a 
power that neither resists nor moves, and exerts no kind 
of action of itself, without the concurrence of some other 
power; so that in the absence of other powers it must be 
in a perfect inaction," &c., it may be some kind of Dutch 
wit, and intended to joke that quietism, which in Germany 
is supposed to be very prevalent in Pennsylvania, many 
of their Quietists having removed hither. 

I see by Cave's Magazine l for May, that they have trans- 
lated my electrical papers into French, and printed them 
in Paris. I hope our friend Collinson will procure and 
send me a copy of the translation. Such things should 
be done by men skilled in the subject, as well as in the 
language, otherwise great mistakes are easily made, and 
the clearest matters rendered obscure and unintelligible. 

I am sorry you could not see Mr. Kinnersley's Lectures; 
they would have pleased you. I send you Mr. Wilson's 
book, which I just received from London, and think it 
contains the best directions for the use of the machine, 
that are extant. When you have done with it, please to 
return it to, 

Dear Sir, 

Your most humble servant, 


1 Gentlemarts Magazine. ED. 


Electrical Kite 

[Philadelphia] Oct. 19, 1752. 


As frequent mention is made in public papers from Europe 
of the success of the Philadelphia experiment for drawing 
the electric fire from clouds by means of pointed rods of 
iron erected on high buildings, &c., it may be agreeable 
to the curious to be informed, that the same experiment 
has succeeded in Philadelphia, though made in a different 
and more easy manner, which is as follows : 

Make a small cross of two light strips of cedar, the arms 
so long as to reach to the four corners of a large thin silk 
handkerchief when extended; tie the corners of the hand- 
kerchief to the extremities of the cross, so you have the body 
of a kite; which being properly accommodated with a 
tail, loop, and string, will rise in the air, like those made of 
paper ; but this being of silk, is fitter to bear the wet and wind 
of a thunder-gust without tearing. To the top of the upright 
stick of the cross is to be fixed a very sharp-pointed wire, 
rising a foot or more above the wood. To the end of the 
twine, next the hand, is to be tied a silk ribbon, and where 
the silk and twine join, a key may be fastened. This kite 
is to be raised when a thunder-gust appears to be coming 
on, and the person who holds the string must stand within 
a door or window, or under some cover, so that the silk 
ribbon may not be wet; and care must be taken that the 

1 Read at the Royal Society, December 21, 1752, and printed in the 
Gentleman's Magazine, December, 1752. Printed here from "Experiments 
and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, p. III. ED. 


twine does not touch the frame of the door or window. 
As soon as any of the thunder-clouds come over the kite, 
the pointed wire will draw the electric fire from them, and 
the kite, with all the twine, will be electrified, and the loose 
filaments of the twine will stand out every way, and be 
attracted by an approaching finger. And when the rain 
has wet the kite and twine, so that it can conduct the electric 
fire freely, you will find it stream out plentifully from the 
key on the approach of your knuckle. At this key the 
phial may be charged ; and from electric fire thus obtained, 
spirits may be kindled, and all the other electric experiments 
be performed, which are usually done by the help of a rubbed 
glass globe or tube, and thereby the sameness of the electric 
matter with that of lightning completely demonstrated. 



1753 (P. H. S.) 


This is the twentieth Time of my addressing thee in this 
Manner, and I have reason to flatter myself my Labours 
have not been unacceptable to the Publick. I am particu- 
larly pleas 'd to understand that my Predictions of the Weather 
give such general Satisfaction; and indeed, such Care is 
taken in the Calculations, on which those Predictions are 
founded, that I could almost venture to say, there's not a 
single One of them, promising Snow, Rain, Hail, Heat, 
Frost, Fogs, Wind, or Thunder, but what comes to pass 
punctually and precisely on the very Day, in some Place or 
other on this little diminutive Globe of ours; (and when 


you consider the vast Distance of the Stars from whence we 
take our Aim, you must allow it no small Degree of Exact- 
ness to hit any Part of it) I say on this Globe; for tho' in 
other Matters I confine the Usefulness of my Ephemeris to 
the Nortltern Colonies, yet in that important matter of the 
Weather, which is of such general Concern, I would have it 
more extensively useful, and therefore take in both Hemi- 
spheres, and all Latitudes from Hudson's Bay to Cape Horn. 
You will find this Almanack in my former Method, only 
conformable to the New-stile established by the Act of 
Parliament, which I gave you in my last at length ; the new 
Act since made for Amendment of that first Act, not affect- 
ing us in the least, being intended only to regulate some 
Corporation Matters in England, before unprovided for. 
I have only added a Column in the second Page of each 
Month, containing the Days of the Old Stile opposite to their 
corresponding Days in the New, which may, in many Cases, 
be of Use; and so conclude (believing you will excuse a 
short Preface, when it is to make Room for something 
better). Thy Friend and Servant 



Philadelphia, November 14, 1752. 


Benny 2 sailed from hence this day two weeks, and left 
our Capes the Sunday following. They are seldom above 
three weeks on the voyage to Antigua. 

1 From " A Collection of the Familiar Letters, etc., of Benjamin Franklin, 
Boston, 1833," p. 24. 

2 Son of Edward and James Mecom. ED. 


That island is reckoned one of the healthiest in the West 
Indies. My late partner there enjoyed perfect health for 
four years, till he grew careless, and got to sitting up late in 
taverns, which I have cautioned Benny to avoid, and have 
given him all other necessary advice I could think of, relat- 
ing both to his health and conduct, and I hope for the best. 

He will find the business settled to his hand; a news- 
paper established, no other printing-house to interfere 
with him, or beat down his prices, which are much higher 
than we get on the continent. He has the place on the same 
terms with his predecessor, who, I understand, cleared 
from five to six hundred pistoles during the four years he 
lived there. I have recommended him to some gentlemen 
of note for their patronage and advice. 

Mr. Parker, though he looked on Benny as one of his best 
hands, readily consented to his going, on the first mention 
of it. I told him Benny must make him satisfaction for his 
time. He would leave that to be settled by me, and Benny 
as readily agreed with me to pay Mr. Parker as much as 
would hire a good journeyman in his room. He came hand- 
somely provided with apparel, and I believe Mr. Parker 
has, in every respect, done his duty by him, and, in this affair, 
has really acted a generous part ; therefore I hope, if Benny 
succeeds in the world, he will make Mr. Parker a return be- 
yond what he has promised. I suppose you will not think 
it amiss to write Mr. and Mrs. Parker a line or two of thanks ; 
for, notwithstanding some little differences, they have on 
the whole been very kind to Benny. 

We have vessels going very frequently from this port to 
Antigua. You have some too from your port. What let- 
ters you send this way, I will take care to forward. An- 


tigua is the seat of government for all the Leeward Islands, 
to wit, St. Christopher's, Nevis, and Montserrat. Benny 
will have the business of all those islands, there being no 
other printer. 

After all, having taken care to do what appears to be for 
the best, we must submit to God's providence, which orders 
all things really for the best. 

While Benny was here, and since, our Assembly was sit- 
ting, which took up my time, and I could not before write 
you so fully. 

With love to your children, I am, dear brother and sister 

your affectionate brother, 


147. TO JOHN FRANKLIN 1 (p. c.) 

Philadelphia, December 8, 1752. 


Reflecting yesterday on your desire to have a flexible 
catheter, a thought struck into my mind, how one might 
probably be made; and lest you should not readily con- 
ceive it by any description of mine, I went immediately to 
the silver-smith's and gave directions for making one (sit- 
ting by till it was finished) that it might be ready for this 
post. But now it is done I have some apprehensions that 
it may be too large to be easy ; if so a silver-smith can easily 
make it less by twisting or turning it on a smaller wire, and 
putting a smaller pipe to the end, if the pipe is really neces- 
sary. This machine may either be covered with small fine 

1 Printed by Mr. Bigelow, Vol. X, p. 264, from the original then in the 
possession of Dr. F. N. Otis, of New York. ED. 


gut, first cleaned and soaked a night in a solution of alum 
and salt and water, then rubbed dry, which will preserve it 
longer from putrefaction; then wet again and drawn on 
and tied to the pipes at each end, where little hollows are 
made for the thread to bind in and the surface greased. Or 
perhaps it may be used without the gut, having only a little 
tallow rubbed over it, to smooth it and fill the joints. I 
think it is as flexible as would be expected in a thing of the 
kind, and I imagine will readily comply with the turns of 
the passage, yet has stiffness enough to be protruded; if 
not, the enclosed wire may be used to stiffen the hinder part 
of the pipe while the fore part is pushed forward, and as it 
proceeds the wire may be gradually withdrawn. The tube 
is of such a nature, that when you have occasion to with- 
draw it its diameter will lessen, whereby it will move more 
easily. It is a kind of screw and may be both withdrawn 
and introduced by turning. Experience is necessary for 
the right using of all new tools or instruments, and that 
will perhaps suggest some improvements to this instrument 
as well as better direct the manner of using it. 

I have read Whytt on lime-water. 1 You desire my thoughts 
on what he says. But what can I say? He relates facts 
and experiments, and they must be allowed good, if not con- 
tradicted by other facts and experiments. May not one 
guess, by holding limewater some time in one's mouth, 
whether it is likely to injure the bladder? 

I know not what to advise, either as to the injection or the 

1 Robert Whytt (1714-1766), President of the Royal College of Physi- 
cians, of Edinburgh, author of " On the Virtues of Lime Water in the Cure 
of Stone" (in " Edinburgh Medical Essays," 1743). It was published sepa- 
rately in 1752 the copy that Franklin read. His treatment for stone was 
simply lime water and soap. ED. 


operation. I can only pray God to direct you for the best 
and to grant success. 
I am, my dear brother, yours most affectionately, 


I found Whytt's experiments are approved and recom- 
mended by Dr. Mead. 

Dear Brother : With regard to our father's estate I can 
only so far inform you that the household stuff as sold at 
vendue amounted to a little more than $400 but the house 
and land was apprised at $2,000. 


Philadelphia, January i, 1753. 


I have your favour of the third past, with your son's re- 
marks on the Abbe* Nollet's Letters? 1 I think the experi- 
ments and observations are judiciously made, and so well 
expressed, that, with your and his leave, I would transmit 
them to Mr. Collinson for publication. I have repeated all 
the Abbess experiments in vacuo, and find them answer ex- 
actly as they should do on my principles, and in the mate- 
rial part quite contrary to what he has related of them ; so 
that he has laid himself extremely open, by attempting to 
impose false accounts of experiments on the world, to sup- 
port his doctrine. 

M. Dalibard wrote to me that he was preparing an an- 

1 First printed by Sparks. 

2 Remarks on the Abbe Nollet's " Letters on Electricity to Benj. Franklin, 
Esq ; of Philadelphia, by Mr. David Golden of New York." (" Experiments 
and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, p. 130.) ED. 


swer, that would be published the beginning of this winter; 
but, as he seems to have been imposed on by the Abbe's 
confident assertion, that a charged bottle set down on an 
electric per se is deprived of its electricity, and in his letter 
to me attempts to account for it, I doubt he is not yet quite 
master enough of the subject to do the business effectually. 
So I conclude to write a civil letter to the Abbe* myself, in 
which, without resenting any thing in his letters, I shall en- 
deavour to set the disputed matters in so clear a light, as to 
satisfy every one that will take the trouble of reading it. Be- 
fore I send it home, I shall communicate it to you, and take 
your friendly advice on it. I set out to-morrow on a jour- 
ney to Maryland, where I expect to be some weeks, but shall 
have some leisure when I return. At present, I can only 
add my thanks to your ingenious son, and my hearty wishes 
of a happy new year to you, and him, and all yours. I am, 
Sir, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 

P.S. I wrote to you last post, and sent my paper on the 
Increase of Mankind. I send the Supplemental Electrical 
Experiments in several fragments of letters, of which Cave l 
has made the most, by printing some of them twice over. 

1 Edward Cave (1691-1754), publisher of the Gentleman's Magazine, and 
of Franklin's papers on electricity. ED. 

1753] TO JOHN' PERKINS 107 

149. TO JOHN PERKINS 1 (A. p. s.) 

Philada, Feb. 4, 1753. 


I ought to have wrote to you long since, in Answer to 
yours of Oct. 16. concerning the Water- Spout : but Business 
partly, and partly a Desire of procuring further Information 
by Inquiry among my Sea-faring Acquaintance, induc'd me 
to postpone Writing from time to time, till I am now almost 
asham'd to resume the Subject, not knowing but you may 
have forgot what has been said upon it. 

Nothing certainly can be more improving to a Searcher 
into Nature, than Objections judiciously made to his Opin- 
ions, taken up perhaps too hastily: For such Objections 
oblige him to re-study the Point, consider every Circum- 
stance carefully, compare Facts, make Experiments, weigh 
Arguments, and be slow in drawing Conclusions. And 
hence a sure Advantage results; for he either confirms a 
Truth, before too slightly supported; or discovers an Error, 
and receives Instruction from the Objector. 

In this View I consider the Objections and Remarks you 
sent me, and thank you for them sincerely: But how much 
soever my Inclinations lead me to philosophical Inquiries, 
I am so engag'd in Business, public and private, that those 
more pleasing pursuits are frequently interrupted, and the 
Chain of Thought necessary to be closely continued in such 
Disquisitions, so broken and disjointed, that it is with Diffi- 
culty I satisfy myself in any of them; and I am now not 

1 Read at the Royal Society, June 24, 1756. Published in "Experiments 
and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, p. 216. Printed here from 
the original Ms. in A. P. S. ED. 


much nearer a Conclusion, in this Matter of the Spout, than 
when I first read your Letter. 

Yet hoping we may in time sift out the Truth between us, 
I will send you my present Thoughts, with some Observa- 
tions on your Reasons on the Ace** in the Transactions, 
and other Relations I have met with. Perhaps while I am 
writing some new Light may strike me, for I shall now be 
oblig'd to consider the Subject with a little more Attention. 

I agree with you, that by means of a Vacuum in a Whirl- 
wind, Water cannot be suppos'd to rise in large Masses to 
the Region of the Clouds : for the Pressure of the surround- 
ing Atmosphere could not force it up in a continued Body or 
Column, to a much greater Height than thirty feet. But if 
there really is a Vacuum in the Center, or near the Axis of 
Whirlwinds, then I think Water may rise in such Vacuum 
to that Height, or to less Height, as the Vacuum may be less 

I had not read Stuart's Ace 1 , in the Transactions, for many 
Years before the receipt of your Letter, and had quite for- 
got it; but now, on Viewing his Drafts, and considering his 
Descriptions, I think they seem to favour my Hypothesis: 
For he describes and draws Columns of Water, of various 
Heights, terminating abruptly at the Top, exactly as Water 
would do when forc'd up by the Pressure of the Atmosphere 
into an exhausted Tube. 

I must, however, no longer call it my Hypothesis, since 
I find Stuart had the same Thought, tho' somewhat ob- 
scurely express'd, where he says, "he imagines this Phaenom- 
enon may be solv'd by Suction (improperly so called), or 
rather Pulsion, as in the Application of a Cupping-Glass 
to the Flesh, the Air being first voided by the kindled Flax." 

1753] TO JOHN PERKINS 109 

In my Paper, I supposed a Whirlwind and a Spout to be 
the same Thing, and to proceed from the same Cause; the 
only Difference between them being, that the one passes 
over Land, the other over Water. I find also in the Trans- 
actions, that M. de la Pryme was of the same Opinion ; for 
he there describes two Spouts, as he calls them, which were 
seen at different Times, at Hatfield in Yorkshire, whose 
Appearances in the Air were the same with those of the Spouts 
at Sea, and Effects the same with those of real Whirlwinds. 

Whirlwinds have generally a progressive, as well as a cir- 
cular Motion; so had what is called the Spout at Topsham 
(see the Ace 1 , of it in the Transactions), which also appears 
by its effects Described, to have been a real Whirlwind. 
Water-spouts have likewise a progressive Motion; this is 
sometimes greater, and sometimes less ; in some violent, in 
others barely perceivable. The Whirlwind at Warrington 
continued long in Acrement Close. 

Whirlwinds generally arise after Calms and great Heats: 
The same is observed of Water-Spouts, which are therefore 
most frequent in the warm Latitudes. The Spout that hap- 
pen'd in cold Weather, in the Downs, described by Mr. 
Gordon, in the Transactions, was for that reason thought 
extraordinary ; but he remarks withal, that the Weather, tho' 
cold when the Spout appeared, was soon after much colder ; 
as we find it commonly less warm after a Whirlwind. 

You agree that the Wind blows every way towards a 
Whirlwind, from a large Space round. An intelligent Whale- 
man, of Nantucket, informed me, that three of their Vessels, 
which were out in search of Whales, happening to be be- 
calmed lay in Sight of each other, at about a League dis- 
tance: if I remember right, nearly forming a Triangle; 


after some time, a Water-Spout appeared near the Middle 
of the Triangle, when a brisk Breeze of Wind also sprang up, 
and every Vessel made Sail; and then it appeared to them 
all, by the Setting of the Sails, and the Course each Vessel 
stood, that the Spout was to Leeward of every one of them; 
and they all declar'd it to have been so, when they happened 
afterwards in Company, and came to confer about it. So 
that in this Particular likewise, Whirlwinds and Water- 
Spouts agree. 

But if that which appears a Water-Spout at Sea, does 
sometimes in its progressive Motion, meet with and pass 
over Land, and there produce all the Phenomena and Effects 
of a Whirlwind, it should thence seem still more evident, 
that a Whirlwind and a Spout are the same. I send you, 
herewith, a Letter from an ingenious Physician of my Ac- 
quaintance, which gives one Instance of this, that fell within 
his observation. 

A Fluid, moving from all Points horizontally, towards a 
Center, must, at that Center, either ascend or descend. Wa- 
ter being in a Tub, if a Hole be open'd in the Middle of the 
Bottom, will flow from all Sides to the Center, and there 
descend in a Whirl. But Air flowing on and near the Sur- 
face of Land or Water, from all sides toward a Center, must 
at that Center ascend; the Land or Water hindering its 

If these concentring Currents of Air be in the upper Region, 
they may indeed descend in the Spout or Whirlwind; but 
then, when the united Current reach'd the Earth or Water 
it would spread, and, probably, blow every way from the 
Center. There may be Whirlwinds of both kinds, but, 
from the commonly observ'd Effects, I suspect the Rising 


one to be the most common; when the upper Air descends, 
'tis, perhaps, in a greater Body extending wider, as in our 
Thunder-Gusts, and without much whirling; and, when 
air descends in a Spout, or Whirlwind, I should rather ex- 
pect it would press the Roof of a House inwards, or force in 
the Tiles, Shingles, or Thatch, force a Boat down into the 
Water, or a Piece of Timber into the Earth, than that it 
would lift them up, and carry them away. 

It has so happen'd, that I have not met with any Accounts 
of Spouts, that certainly descended; I suspect they are not 
frequent. Please to communicate those you mention. The 
apparent dropping of a Pipe from the Clouds towards the 
Earth or Sea, I will endeavour to explain hereafter. 

The Augmentation of the Cloud, which, as I am inform'd, 
is generally if not always the case, during a Spout, seems to 
show an Ascent rather than a Descent of the Matter of 
which such Cloud is composed. For a descending Spout, 
one would expect should diminish a Cloud. I own, how- 
ever, that descending cold air, may, by Condensing the Va- 
pours in a lower Region, form and increase Clouds ; which, I 
think, is generally the Case in our common Thunder-Gusts, 
and, therefore, do not lay great Stress on this Argum*. 

Whirlwinds and Spouts are not always tho' most com- 
monly in the Day time. The terrible Whirlwind, which 
damag'd a great part of Rome, June n. 1749 happen'd in 
the Night of that Day. The same was supposed to have 
been first a Spout, for it is said to be beyond doubt, that it 
gathered in the neighbouring Sea, as it could be tracked 
from Ostia to Rome. I find this in Pere Boschovich's Ace* 
of it, as abridg'd in the Monthly Review for December 1750: 

In that Ace*, the Whirlwind is said to have appeared as a 


very black, long, and lofty Cloud, discoverable, notwithstand- 
ing the Darkness of the Night, by its continually lightning or 
emitting Flashes on all Sides, pushing along with a surpriz- 
ing Swiftness, and within 3 or 4 feet of the Ground. Its 
general Effects on Houses were, stripping off the Roofs, 
blowing away Chimneys, breaking Doors and Windows, 
forcing up the Floors, and unpaving the Rooms, (some 06 
these Effects seem to agree well with a supposed Vacuum 
in the Center of the Whirlwind,) and the very Rafters of 
the Houses were broke and dispersed, and even hurled 
against Houses at a considerable Distance, &c. 

It seems, by an Expression of Pere Boschovich's, as if the 
Wind blew from all sides towards this Whirlwind; for 
having carefully observed its Effects, he concludes of all 
Whirlwinds, "that their Motion is circular, and their Action 

He observes, on a Number of Histories of Whirlwinds, 
&c., "that a common Effect of them is to carry up into the 
Air, Tiles, Stones and Animals themselves, which happen 
to be in their Course, and all kinds of Bodies unexception- 
ably, throwing them to a considerable Distance, with great 

Such Effects seem to show a rising Current of Air. 

I will endeavour to explain my Conceptions of this Mat- 
ter, by Figures, representing a Plan, and an Elevation of a 
Spout or Whirlwind. 

I would only first beg to be allowed two or three Posi- 
tions, mentioned in my former Paper. 

i. That the lower Region of Air is often more heated, 
and so more rarified, than the upper; consequently, specifi- 
cally lighter, The Coldness of the upper Region is mani- 

1753] TO JOHN- PERKINS 113 

fested by the Hail, which sometimes falls from it in a hot 

2. That heated Air may be very moist, and yet the Mois- 
ture so equally diffused and rarified, as not to be visible, till 
colder Air mixes with it, when it condenses, and becomes 
visible. Thus our Breath, invisible in Summer, becomes 
visible in Winter. 

Now let us suppose a Tract of Land or Sea of perhaps 
60 Miles square, unscreened by Clouds, and unfann'd by 
Winds, during great Part of a Summer's Day, or it may be 
for several Days successively, till 'tis violently heated, to- 
gether with the lower Region of Air in Contact with it, 
so that the said lower Air becomes specifically lighter than 
the Superincumbent higher Region of the Atmosphere, in 
which the Clouds commonly float ; let us suppose, also, that 
the Air surrounding this Tract has not been so much heated 
during those Days, and therefore remains heavier. The 
Consequence of this should be, as I imagine, that the heated, 
lighter Air, being press'd on all sides, must ascend, and the 
heavier descend ; and as this Rising cannot be in all Parts, 
or the whole Area of the Tract at once, for that would leave 
too extensive a Vacuum, the Rising will begin precisely in 
that Column that happens to be the lightest, or most rari- 
fied ; and the warm Air will flow horizontally from all Points 
to this Column, where the several currents meeting, and join- 
ing to rise, a Whirl is naturally formed, in the same Man- 
ner as a Whirl is formed in the Tub of Water, by the 
descending Fluid flowing from all Sides of the Tub to the 
Hole in the Center. 

And as the several Currents arrive at this central rising 
Column with a considerable Degree of horizontal Motion, 

VOL. Ill I 


they cannot suddenly change it to a vertical Motion, there- 
fore as they gradually, in approaching the Whirl decline 
from right to curve, or circular Lines, so having join'd the 
Whirl, they ascend by a spiral Motion, in the same Manner 
as the Water descends spirally, thro' the Hole in the Tub 
before mentioned. 

Lastly, as the lower Air, and nearest the Surface, is most 
rarified by the Heat of the Sun, that Air is most acted on 
by the Pressure of the surrounding cold and heavy Air, 
which is to take its Place; consequently its Motion to w>ds 
the Whirl is swiftest, and so the force of the lower Part of 
the Whirl, or Trump, strongest, and the Centrifugal Force 
of its Particles greatest ; and hence the Vacuum round the 
Axis of the Whirl should be greatest near the Earth or Sea, 
and be gradually diminished as it approaches the Region of 
the Clouds, till it ends in a Point, as at [-4, in Fig. II,] 
forming a long and sharp Cone. 

In Fig. i, which is a Plan or Ground-Plot of a Whirlwind, 
the Circle V represents the central Vacuum. 

Between a a a a and b b b b, I suppose a Body of Air, con- 
dens'd strongly, by the Pressure of the Currents moving 
towards it from all sides without, and by its Centrifugal Force 
from within, moving round with prodigious Swiftness, (hav- 
ing, as it were, the Momenta of all the Currents, > > 

> >, united in itself), and with a Power equal to 

its Swiftness and Density. 

It is This whirling Body of Air between a a a a and b b b b 
that rises spirally; by its Force it tears Buildings to Pieces, 
twists up great Trees by the Roots, &c., and, by its spiral 
Motion, raises the Fragments so high, till the Pressure of the 
surrounding and approaching Currents diminishing can no 

1753] TO JOHN PERKINS 115 

longer confine them to the Circle, or their own centrifugal 
Force, encreasing, grows too strong for such Pressure, when 
they fly off in Tangent Lines, as Stones out of a Sling, and 
fall on all Sides, and at great Distances. 

If it happens at Sea, the Water between a a a a and b b bb 
will be violently agitated and driven about, and parts of it 
raised with the spiral Current, and thrown about so as to 
form a Bush-like Appearance. 

This Circle is of various Diameters, sometimes very large. 

If the Vacuum passes over Water the Water may rise in 
it in a Body or Column, to near the Height of 32 feet. 

If it passes over Houses, it may burst their Windows or 
Walls outwards, pluck off the Roofs and blow up the Floors, 
by the sudden Rarefaction of the Air contained within such 
Buildings, the outward Pressure of the Atmosphere being 
suddenly taken off. So the stop'd Bottle of Air bursts un- 
der the exhausted Receiver of the Air-Pump. 

Fig. II is to represent the Elevation of a Water-Spout, 
wherein I suppose P P P to be the Cone, at first a Vacuum, 
till W W, the rising Column of Water, has filFd so much of 
it. 555 5, the Spiral Whirl of Air, surrounding the Vacuum, 
and continued higher in a close Column after the Vacuum 
ends in the Point P, till it reach the cool Region of the Air. 
B B, the Bush, described by Stuart, surrounding the Foot 
of the Column of Water. 

Now I suppose this Whirl of Air will, at first, be as in- 
visible as the Air itself, tho' reaching in reality from the 
Water to the Region of cool Air, in which our low Summer 
Thunder- Clouds commonly float; but presently it will be- 
come visible at its Extremities. At its lower End, by the 
Agitation of the Water under the Whirling Part of the Circle, 


between P and S, forming Stuart's Bush, and by the Swell- 
ing and Rising of the Water in the beginning Vacuum, which 
is at first a small, low, broad Cone, whose Top gradually 
rises and sharpens, as the Force of the Whirl increases. At 
its upper End it becomes visible, by the warm Air brought 
up to the cooler Region, where its Moisture begins to be con- 
dens'd into thick Vapour by the Cold, and is seen first at A, 
the highest Part, which being now cool'd, condenses what 
rises next at B, which condenses that at C, and that con- 
denses what is rising at D. The Cold operating by the Con- 
tact of the Vapours faster in a right Line downwards, than 
the Vapours themselves can climb in a spiral Line upwards ; 
they climb, however, and, as by continual Addition they 
grow denser, and consequently their centrifugal Force great- 
er, and being risen above the concentrating Currents that 
compose the Whirl, they flic off, spread, and form a 

It seems easy to conceive, how by this successive Con- 
densation from above, the Spout appears to drop or descend 
from the Cloud, tho' the Materials of which it is composed 
are all the while ascending. 

The Condensation of the Moisture, contain'd in so great 
a Quantity of warm Air as may be supposed to rise in a short 
Time in this prodigiously rapid Whirl, is, perhaps sufficient 
to form a great Extent of Cloud, tho' the Spout should be 
over Land, as those at Hatfield; and if the Land happens 
not to be very dusty, perhaps the lower Part of the Spout will 
scarce become visible at all ; Tho' the upper, or what is com- 
monly call'd the descending Part, be very distinctly seen. 

The same may happen at Sea, in case the Whirl is not 
violent enough to make a high Vacuum, and raise the 

1753] TO JOHN PERKINS 117 

Column, &c. In such Case, the upper Part A B C D only 
will be visible, and the Bush perhaps below. 

But if the Whirl be strong, and there be much Dust on 
the Land, and the Column W W be rais'd from the Water, 
then the lower Part becomes visible, and sometimes even 
united to the upper Part. For the Dust may be carried up 
in the spiral Whirl, till it reach the Region where the Vapour 
is condens'd, and rise with that even to the Clouds. And 
the Friction of the Whirling Air, on the Sides of the Column 
W Wj may detach great Quantities of its Water, break it 
into Drops, and carry them up in the Spiral Whirl, mix'd 
with the Air; the heavier Drops may indeed fly off, and 
fall in a Shower, round the Spout; but much of it will be 
broken into Vapour, yet visible; and thus in both Cases 
by Dust at Land, and by Water at Sea, the whole Tube may 
be darkned and render'd visible. 

As the Whirl weakens, the Tube may (in Appearance) 
separate in the Middle; the Column of Water subsiding, 
and the superior condens'd Part drawing up to the Cloud. 
Yet still the Tube or Whirl of Air, may remain entire, the 
middle only becoming invisible, as not containing visible 

Dr. Stuart says, "It was observable of all the Spouts he 
saw, but more perceptible of the great one, that towards the 
End it began to appear like a hollow Canal, only black in 
the Borders, but white in the Middle; and, tho' at first it 
was altogether black and opaque, yet now one could very 
distinctly perceive the Sea Water to fly up along the Middle 
of this Canal, as Smoak up a Chimney." 

And Dr. Mather, describing a Whirlwind, says, "A thick 
dark small Cloud arose, with a Pillar of Light in it, of about 


8 or 10 feet Diam., and passed along the Ground in a Tract 
not wider than a Street, horribly tearing up Trees by the 
Roots, blowing them up in the Air like Feathers, and throw- 
ing up Stones of great Weight to a considerable Height in 
the Air," &c. 

These Acc ts , the one of Water-Spouts, the other of a 
Whirlwind, seem in this particular to agree; what one 
gentleman describes as a Tube, black in the Borders, and 
white in the middle ; the other calls a black Cloud, with a 
Pillar of Light in it; the latter Expression has only a little 
more of the marvellous, but the Thing is the same. And it 
seems not very difficult to understand. When Dr. Stuart's 
Spouts were full charg'd ; that is, when the Whirling Pipe of 
Air was filled between a a a a and b b b b , Fig. i, with Quan- 
tities of Drops, and Vapour torn off from the Column W W, 
Fig. 2, the whole was render'd so dark as that it could 
not be seen thro', nor the Spiral ascending Motion discov- 
er'd; but when the Quantity ascending lessen'd, the Pipe 
became more transparent, and the ascending Motion visible. 
For, by Inspection of this Figure, [Fig. 3,] representing a 
Section of our Spout, with the Vacuum in the Middle, it is 
plain, that if we look at such a hollow Pipe, in the Direction 
of the Arrows, and suppose opacous Particles to be equally 
mix'd in the Space between the two circular Lines, both 
the Part between the Arrows a and b, and that between the 
Arrows c and d, will appear much darker than that between 
b and c, as there must be many more of those opaque Par- 
ticles in the Line of Vision, across the Sides, than across the 
Middle. It is thus, that a Hair in a Microscope evidently 
appears to be a Pipe, the Sides shewing darker than the 
Middle. Dr. Mather's Whirl was probably filFd with Dust, 

1753] TO JOHN PERKINS 119 

the Sides were very dark, but the Vacuum within render- 
ing the Middle more transparent, he calls it a Pillar of 

It was in this more transparent Part between b and c, that 
Stuart could see the spiral Motion of the Vapours, whose 
Lines on the nearest and farthest Side of the transparent 
Part crossing each other, represented Smoke ascending in 
a Chimney; for the Quantity being still too great in the 
Line of Sight thro' the Sides of the Tube, the Motion could 
not be discovered there, and so they represented the solid 
Sides of the Chimney. 

When the Vapours reach in the Pipe from the Clouds 
near to the Earth, it is no wonder now to those who under- 
stand Electricity, that Flashes of Lightning should descend 
by the Spout, as in that at Rome. 

But you object, If Water may be thus carried into the 
Clouds, why have we no salt Rains? The objection is 
strong and reasonable, and I know not whether I can answer 
it to your Satisfaction. I never heard but of one salt Rain, 
and that was where a Spout passed pretty near a Ship ; so 
I suppose it to be only the Drops thrown off from the Spout, 
by the centrifugal Force (as the Birds were at Hatfield), 
when they had been carried so high as to be above, or to be 
too strongly centrifugal for, the Pressure of the concurring 
Winds surrounding it. And indeed I believe there can 
be no other kind of Salt Rain; for it has pleased the Good- 
ness of God so to order it, that the Particles of Air will not 
attract the Particles of Salt, tho' they strongly attract Water. 

Hence, tho' all Metals, even Gold, may be united with 
Air, and render'd volatile, Salt remains fix'd in the Fire, and 
no Heat can force it up to any considerable Height, or oblige 


the Air to hold it. Hence when Salt rises as it will a little 
way, into Air with Water, there is instantly a Separation 
made; the Particles of Water adhere to the Air, and the 
Particles of Salt fall down again, as if repell'd and forc'd off 
from the Water by some Power in the Air ; or, as some 
Metals, dissolv'd in a proper Menstruum, will quit the 
Solvent when other Matter approaches, and adhere to that, 
so the Water quits the Salt, and embraces the Air; but 
Air will not embrace the Salt, and quit the Water. Otherwise 
our Rains would indeed be Salt, and every Tree and Plant 
on the Face of the Earth be destroy 'd, with all the Animals 
that depend on them for Subsistence. He who hath pro- 
portioned and given proper Qualities to all Things, was not 
unmindful of this. Let us adore HIM with Praise and 
Thanksgiving ! 

By some Accounts of Seamen, it seems the Column of 
water, W W, sometimes falls suddenly ; and if it be, as some 
say, 15 or 20 yds Diameter, it must fall with great Force, 
and they may well fear for their Ships. By one Ace 1 , in 
the Transactions, of a Spout that fell at Coin in Lancashire, 
one would think the Column is sometimes lifted off from the 
Water, and carried over Land, and there let fall in a Body; 
but this, I suppose, happens rarely. 

Stuart describes his Spouts as appearing no bigger than 
a Mast, and sometimes less ; but they were at a League and 
half Distance. 

I think I formerly read in Dampier, or some other Voy- 
ager, that a Spout, in its progressive Motion, went over a 
Ship becalmed on the Coast of Guinea, and first threw her 
down on one Side, carrying away her Foremast, then sud- 
denly whipt her up, and threw her down on the other Side, 

1753] TO JOHN PERKINS 121 

carrying away her Mizen-Mast, and the whole was over in 
an Instant. I suppose the first Mischief was done by the 
fore side of the Whirl, the latter by the hinder Side, their 
Motion being contrary. 

I suppose a Whirlwind, or Spout, may be stationary, when 
the concurring Winds are equal; but if unequal, the Whirl 
acquires a progressive Motion, in the direction of the 
Strongest Pressure. 

When the Wind that gives the progressive Motion becomes 
stronger below than above, or above than below, the Spout 
will be bent, and, the Cause ceasing, straiten again. 

Your Queries, towards the End of your Paper, appear 
judicious and worth considering. At present I am not 
furnish'd with Facts sufficient to make any pertinent Answer 
to them; and this Paper has already a sufficient Quantity 
of Conjecture. 

Your manner of accommodating the Acc u to your 
Hypothesis of descending Spouts is, I own, ingenious, and 
perhaps that Hypothesis may be true. I will consider it 
farther; but As yet I am not satisfy'd with it, tho' hereafter 
I may be. 

Here you have my Method of Accounting for the principal 
Phenomena, which I submit to your candid Examination. 

If my Hypothesis is not the Truth itself it is least as naked : 
For I have not with some of our learned Moderns, disguis'd 
my Nonsense in Greek, cloth'd it in Algebra or adorn 'd it with 
Fluxions. You have it in puris naturalibus. And as I 
now seem to have almost written a Book, instead of a letter, 
you will think it high time I should conclude ; which I beg 
leave to do, with assuring you, that I am, most sincerely, 
D r Sir, etc. B. FRANKLIN. 



Philadelphia, February 28, 1753. 


The enclosed is a copy of a letter and some papers I re- 
ceived lately from a friend, of which I have struck off fifty 
copies by the press, to distribute among my ingenious ac- 
quaintance in North America, hoping some of them will 
make the observations proposed. The improvement of 
geography and astronomy is the common concern of all 
polite nations, and I trust our country will not miss the 
opportunity of sharing in the honour to be got on this occa- 
sion. The French originals are despatched by express 
overland to Quebec. I doubt not but you will do what may 
lie in your power, to promote the making these observa- 
tions in New England, and that we may not be excelled by 
the American French, either in diligence or accuracy. We 
have here a three-foot reflecting telescope, and other proper 
instruments; and intend to observe at our Academy, if the 
weather permit. You will see, by our Almanac, that we have 
had this transit under consideration before the arrival of 
these French letters. 2 

Dr. Colden's book was printed in England last summer, 
but not to be published till the meeting of Parliament. I 
have one copy, however, which I purpose shortly to send you. 

With great esteem and respect, I am, Sir, 

Your most humble servant, 


1 First published by Sparks. 

2 The paper alluded to, of which fifty copies were struck off for distribution, 
was entitled, "Letters relating to a Transit of Mercury over the Sun, which is 
to happen May 6th, 1753" ED. 

1753] TO JARED ELIOT 123 

151. TO JARED ELIOT (L. L.) 

Philada, Apr. 12, 1753. 


I received your favour of March 26th, and thank you for 
communicating to me the very ingenious letter from your 
friend, Mr. Todd, with whom, if it may be agreeable to 
him, I would gladly entertain a correspondence. I shall 
consider his objections till next post. 1 

I thank you for your hint concerning the word adhesion, 
which should be denned. When I speak of particles of 
water adhering to particles of air, I mean not a firm adhe- 
sion, but a loose one, like that of a drop of water to the end 
of an icicle before freezing. The firm adhesion is after it is 

I conceive that the original constituent particles of water 
are perfectly hard, round, and smooth. If so, there must 
be interstices, and yet the mass incompressible. A box 
filled with small shot has many interstices, and the shot may 
be compressed because they are not perfectly hard. If 
they were, the interstices would remain the same, notwith- 
standing the greatest pressure, and would admit sand, as 
water admits salt. 

Our vessel, named the Argo, is gone for the northwest 
passage; and the captain has borrowed my Journals of the 
last voyage, except one volume of a broken set, which I send 
you. I enclose a letter from our friend, Mr. Collinson, 
and am promised some speltz, which I shall send per next 

1 See Letter to Eliot, May 3, 1753. Ed. 


The Taller tells us of a Girl, who was observed to grow 
suddenly proud, and none cou'd guess the Reason, till it 
came to be known that she had got on a new Pair of Garters. 
Lest you should be puzzled to guess the Cause, when you 
observe any Thing of the kind in me, I think I will not hide 
my new Garters under my Petticoats, but take the Freedom 
to show them to you, in a Paragraph of our friend Collin- 
son's Letter, viz. But I ought to mortify, and not indulge, 
this Vanity; I will not transcribe the Paragraph, yet I 
cannot forbear. 

"If any of thy Friends," says Peter, "should take Notice 
that thy Head is held a little higher up than formerly, let 
them know; when the Grand Monarch oj France strictly 
commands the Abbe Mazeas to write a Letter in the politest 
Terms to the Royal Society, to return the King's Thanks 
and Compliments in an express Manner to Mr. Franklin 
of Pennsylvania, (Pensilvania) for the useful Discoveries 
in Electricity, and Application of the pointed Rods to pre- 
vent the terrible Effects of Thunder-storms, I say, after all 
this, is not some Allowance to be made, if thy Crest is a little 
elevated? There are four Letters containing very curious 
Experiments on thy Doctrine of Points, and its Verification, 
which will be printed in the New Transactions. I think, now 
I have stuck a Feather in thy Cap, I may be allowed to conclude 
in wishing thee long to wear it. Thine, P. COLLINSON." 

On reconsidering this Paragraph, I fear I have not so much 
Reason to be proud as the Girl had; for a Feather in the 
Cap is not so useful a Thing, or so serviceable to the 
Wearer, as a Pair of good silk Garters. The Pride of Man 
is very differently gratify'd; and, had his Majesty sent me 

1753] TO JAMES BOWDOIN' 125 

a marshal's staff, I think I should scarce have been so proud 
of it, as I am of your Esteem, and of subscribing myself, 
with Sincerity, dear Sir, 
Your affectionate friend and humble servant, 



Philadelphia, April 12, 1753. 


I have shipped eighteen glass jars in casks well packed, 
on board Captain Branscombe for Boston; six of them are 
for you, the rest I understand are for the College. Leaf 
tin, such as they use in silvering looking- 
glasses, is best to coat them with; they 
should be coated to within about four or 
five inches of the brim. Cut the tin in- 
to pieces of the form here represented, 
and they will comply better with the 
bellying of the glass; one piece only should be round to 
cover the bottom; the same shapes will serve the inside. 
I had not conveniency to coat them for you, and feared to 
trust anybody else, Mr. Kinnersley being abroad in the West 
Indies. To make the pieces comply the better, they may 
be cut in two where the cross lines are. They reach from 
the top to the edge of the round piece which covers the 
bottom. I place them in loose rims of scabboard, some- 
thing like a small sieve, in which they stand very well. If 
you charge more than one or two together, pray take care 

1 First printed by Sparks from the original then in the possession of Mr. 
Thomas L. Winthrop. ED. 


how you expose your head to an accidental stroke; for, I 
can assure you from experience, one is sufficient to knock 
a stout man down ; and I believe a stroke from two or three, 
in the head, would kill him. 

Has Dr. Colden's new book reached you in Boston? If 
not, I will send it to you. 

With great respect, I am, Sir, 

Your most humble servant, 


P. S. The glass- maker being from home, I cannot now 
get the account. The tin is laid on with common paste, 
made of flour and water boiled together, and the pieces may 
lap over each other a little. 


Philadelphia, April 19, 1753. 


I received your favour of the nth instant, with your new 
piece on Education? which I shall carefully peruse, and give 
you my sentiments of it, as you desire, by next post. 

[I believe the young gentlemen, your pupils, may be enter- 
tained and instructed here, in mathematics and philosophy 
to satisfaction. Mr. Alison, 3 who was educated at Glasgow, 
has been long accustomed to teach the latter, and Mr. 

1 From " The Life and Correspondence of the Rev. William Smith, D.D.," 
by H. W. Smith, Philadelphia, 1879, Vol. I, p. 23. The paragraph in brackets is 
not found in the original letter. Rev. William Smith became Provost of the 
Academy in 1755. See "A History of the University of Pennsylvania" by 
T. H. Montgomery, Philadelphia, 1900, pp. 185-208. ED. 

2 A General Idea of the College of Mirania. 

8 The Rev. Francis Alison, Vice-Provost of the Academy in Philadelphia, 


Grew * the former, and I think their pupils make great prog- 
ress. Mr. Alison has the care of the Latin and Greek 
school; but, as he has now three good assistants, 2 he can 
very well afford some hours every day for the instruction of 
those, who are engaged in higher studies. The mathe- 
matical school is pretty well furnished with instruments. 
The English Library is a good one, and we have belonging 
to it a middling apparatus for experimental philosophy, 
and purpose speedily to complete it. The Loganian Library, 
one of the best collections in America, will shortly be opened ; 
so that neither books nor instruments will be wanting; and, 
as we are determined always to give good salaries, we have 
reason to believe we may have always an opportunity of 
choosing good masters; upon which, indeed, the success 
of the whole depends. We are obliged to you for your kind 
offers in this respect; and, when you are settled in Eng- 
land, we may occasionally make use of your friendship and 

If it suits you to visit Philadelphia, before your return 
to Europe, I shall be extremely glad to see and converse 
with you here, as well as to correspond with you after your 
settlement in England. For an acquaintance and communi- 
cation with men of learning, virtue, and public spirit, is one 
of my greatest enjoyments. 

I do not know whether you ever happened to see the first 
proposals I made for erecting this Academy. I send them 
enclosed. They had, (however imperfect,) the desired suc- 

1 Theophilus Grew, " Mathematical Professor at the Academy in Phila- 

2 Those assistants were at that time Charles Thomson, afterwards Secretary 
of Congress, Paul Jackson, and Jacob Duche. STUBER. 


cess, being followed with a subscription of jour thousand 
pounds towards carrying them into execution. And as we 
are fond of receiving advice, and are daily improving by 
experience, I am in hopes we shall, in a few years, see a per- 
fect institution. I am, very respectfully, &c. 

Mr. William Smith 

Long Island [near New York] 

154. TO JARED ELIOT 1 (Y.) and (L. L.) 

PhiladaMay 3, I753- 


I received your Essay last Post, and my Presses being at 
present engaged in some publick Work that will not admit 
of Delay, I have engag'd M r Parker to print it out of hand at 
New York. You may expect to see it done in two or three 
weeks. The Pacquet was not seal'd, and I observ'd that 
the Tables showing the Culture of Sundry Fields were not 
with the rest of Mr Jacksons Papers. Perhaps you did 
not design them for the Press. 

I wish the Barbary Barley may grow. I have some of it, 
and have sow'd it ; but it seem'd to me to have been cut too 
green. I have formerly heard it reckon'd the finest Barley 
in the World, and that it makes a great Part of the Food 
of the Inhabitants. 

I think I have never been more hurried in Business than 
at present; yet I will steal a few Minutes, to make an Ob- 
servation or two on M r Todd's Ingenious Letter to you. 

1 The original letter is in the Library of Yale University ; a fragment is in 
the Lenox Library. I have placed the portion contained in the L. L. Manu- 
script within brackets. ED. 

1753] TO JARED ELIOT 129 

[i. THE supposing a mutual Attraction between the 
Particles of Water and Air is not introducing a new Law 
of Nature; such Attractions taking place in many other 
known Instances. 

2. Water is specifically 850 times heavier than Air. To 
render a Bubble of Water, then, specifically lighter than 
Air, it seems to me, that it must take up more than 850 
times the Space it did before it form'd the Bubble; and 
within the Bubble should be either a Vacuum, or Air rarefied 
more than 850 times. If a Vacuum, would not the Bubble 
be immediately crush 'd by the Weight of the Atmosphere? 
And no Heat we know of will rarefy Air any thing near so 
much; much less the common Heat of the Sun, or that of 
Friction, by the Dashing on the Surface of the Water. Be- 
sides, Water agitated ever so violently produces no Heat, 
as has been found by accurate Experim t$ . 

3. A Hollow Sphere of Lead has a Firmness and Con- 
sistency in it, that a hollow Sphere or Bubble of Fluid, un- 
frozen Water cannot be suppos'd to have. The Lead may 
support the Pressure of the Water it is immerg'd in, but the 
Bubble could not support the pressure of the Air, if empty 

4. Was ever a visible Bubble seen to rise in Air? I have 
made many, when a Boy, with Soap-Suds and a Tobacco- 
Pipe ; but they all descended when loose from the Pipe, tho' 
slowly, the Air impeding their Motion. They may indeed 
be forc'd up by a Wind from below, but do not rise of them- 
selves, tho' filled with warm Breath. 

5. The Objection relating to our Breathing moist Air 
seems weighty, and must be farther considered. The Air 
that has been breath'd has, doubtless, acquired an Addition 

VOL. Ill K 


of the perspirable Matter which Nature intends to free the 
Body from, and which would be pernicious if retain'd and 
returned into the Blood; such Air then may become unfit 
for Respiration, as well for that reason, as on Ace* of its 
Moisture. Yet I should be glad to learn, by some accurate 
Experiment, whether a Draft of Air, two or three times 
inspired and expired, perhaps in a Bladder, has or has not 
acquired more Moisture than our common Air in the Dampest 
Weather. As to the Precipitation of Water in the Air we 
breathe, perhaps it is not always a Mark of that Air's being 
overloaded. In the Region of the Clouds, indeed, the Air 
must be overloaded, if it let fall its Water in Drops, which 
we call Rain; but those Drops may fall thro' a dryer Air 
near the Earth; and accordingly we find, that the Hygro- 
scope sometimes shows a less Degree of Moisture during a 
Shower, than at other times when it does not rain at all. 
The dewy Dampness, that settles on the Insides of our Walls 
and Wainscots, seems more certainly to denote an Air over- 
loaded with Moisture ; and yet this is no sure Sign ; for after 
a long-continu'd cold Season, if the Air grows suddenly 
warm, the Walls, &c. continuing longer their Coldness, 
will, for some time condense the Moisture of such Air, till 
they grow equally warm, and then they condense no more, 
tho' the Air is not become dryer. And, on the other Hand, 
after a warm Spell, if the Air grow cold, tho' moist er than 
before, the Dew is not so apt to gather on the Walls. A 
Tankard of cold Water will, in a hot and dry Summer's 
Day, collect a Dew on its outside; a Tankard of hot Water 
will collect none in the moistest Weather. 

6. 'Tis, I think, a Mistake, that the Trade- Winds blow 
only in the Afternoon. They blow all Day and all Night, 


and all the Year round, except in some particular Places. 
The Southerly Sea-Breezes on your Coast, indeed blow 
chiefly in the Afternoon. In the very long Run from the 
West Side of America to Guam, among the Philippine 
Islands, Ships seldom have Occasion to hand their Sails, 
so equal and steady is the Gale, and yet they make it in 
about 60 Days, w** could not be if the Wind blew only in 
the Afternoon. 

7. That really is, which the Gentleman justly supposes 
ought to be on my Hypothesis. In Sailing Southward, 
when you first enter the Trade Wind, you find it North- East, 
or thereabouts, and it gradually grows more East as you 
approach the Line. The same Observation is made of its 
changing from S. East to East gradually, as you come from 
the Southern Latitudes to the Equator.] I have not yet 
had Time to transcribe my Paper on the Increase of Man- 
kind, but hope to do it shortly, and shall be glad of yours and 
Mr. Todd's Sentiments on it. I am very affectionately, 
D r Sir etc. B. F. 


Philadelphia, May 3, 1753. 


Mr. Peters has just now been with me, and we have 
compared notes on your new piece. We find nothing in 
the scheme of education, however excellent, but what is 
in our opinion very practicable. The great difficulty will 
be, to find the Arastus, 1 and other suitable persons, in New 

1 Printed from H. W. Smith's " Life and Correspondence of William Smith," 
Vol. I, p. 25. ED. 

2 The name given to the principal or head of the ideal college, the system 


York to carry it into execution; but such may be had if 
proper encouragement be given. We have both received 
great pleasure in the perusal of it. For my part, I know 
not when I have read a piece that has more affected me; 
so noble and just are the sentiments, so warm and animated 
the language; yet, as censure from your friends may be of 
more use, as well as more agreeable to you, than praise, I 
ought to mention, that I wish you had omitted, not only the 
quotation from the Review, 1 which you are now justly dis- 
satisfied with, but those expressions of resentment against 
your adversaries, in pages 65 and 79. In such cases, the 
noblest victory is obtained by neglect, and by shining on. 

Mr. Allen has been out of town these ten days; but be- 
fore he went he directed me to procure him six copies of 
your piece tho' he had not and ha$ not yet seen it. Mr. 
Peters has taken ten. He purposed to have written to you, 
but omits it, as he expects so soon to have the pleasure of 
seeing you here. He desires me to present his affectionate 
compliments to you, and to assure you that you will be very 
welcome to him. I shall only say, that you may depend on 
my doing all in my power to make your visit to Philadelphia 
agreeable to you. 2 

Yet methinks I would not have you omit bringing a line 
or two from Mr. Allen. If you are more noticed here on 

of education in which has nevertheless been nearly realized, or followed as a 
model, in the College and Academy of Philadelphia, and some other American 
seminaries, for many years past. STUBER. 

1 The quotation alluded to (from the London Monthly Review for 1749) 
was judged to reflect too severely on the discipline and government of the 
English Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and was expunged from the 
following editions of this work. STUBER. 

2 At this point the letter as printed by Sparks and others ends. The 
original among the Smith papers proceeds. ED. 


account of his recommendation, yet as that recommenda- 
tion will be founded upon your merit, known best where you 
have so long resided, their notice may be esteemed to be as 
much "on the score of something you can call your own," 
as if it were merely on account of the pieces you have written. 
I shall take care to forward your letter to Mr. Miller by a 
vessel that sails next week. I proposed to have sent one of 
the books to Mr. Cave, but as it may possibly be a disap- 
pointment to Mr. Miller if Cave should print it, I shall 
forbear, and only send two or three to some particular friends. 
I thank you for your information concerning the author 
of the dialogues. I had been misinformed; but saw with 
concern, in the public papers last year, an article of news 
relating that one Mr. Fordyce, the ingenious author of 
"Dialogues on Education" perished by shipwreck on the 
coast of Holland, in returning home from his tour to Italy. 1 
The sermon on the "Eloquence of the Pulpit" is ascribed, in 
the Review of August 1752, to Mr. James Fordyce, 2 minister 

at Brechin. 

I am, with great esteem, Sir, etc 



Philadelphia, May 5, 1753. 


I thank you for the kind and judicious remarks you have 
made on my little piece. I have often observed with wonder 

1 David Fordyce (1711-1751) was shipwrecked September, 1751. See his 
epitaph in the Gentlemaris Magazine, Vol. LXVI, Pt. II, p. 1052. See also 
"Addresses to the Deity" (by James Fordyce, 3d edition, 1801), p. 15. ED. 

2 Younger brother of David Fordyce. ED. 

1 It has hitherto been supposed that this letter was addressed to Peter 


that temper of the poorer English labourers which you 
mention, and acknowledge it to be pretty general. When 
any of them happen to come here, where labour is much 
better paid than in England, their industry seems to diminish 
in equal proportion. But it is not so with the German 
labourers; they retain the habitual industry and frugality 
they bring with them, and, receiving higher wages, an accu- 
mulation arises that makes them all rich. When I consider, 
that the English are the offspring of Germans, that the 
climate they live in is much of the same temperature, and 
when I see nothing in nature that should create this dif- 
ference, I am tempted to suspect it must arise from con- 
stitution; and I have sometimes doubted whether the laws 
peculiar to England, which compel the rich to maintain the 
poor, have not given the latter a dependence, that very much 
lessens the care of providing against the wants of old age. 

I have heard it remarked that the poor in Protestant coun- 
tries, on the continent of Europe, are generally more indus- 

Collinson. It appears to have been sent to him by Richard Jackson, the real 
recipient, and a portion of it in Collinson's handwriting is among the Wetstein 
papers in the British Museum. 

Jackson received the letter in September and answered it March 1 7, 1 754. 
His reply is among the Franklin papers in The American Philosophical Society. 
It maybe noticed in passing that the letter has been hitherto wrongly dated (May 
the ninth). It was first printed in the Gentleman' 's Magazine for January, 
1 834, by J. Mitford of Benhall, then editor of the Magazine. "Extracts from the 
Diary of a Lover of Literature" (Thomas Green) had been published at 
Ipswich in 1810. The manuscript of the complete Diary was intrusted by 
Thomas Green's only son to Mr. Mitford who printed liberal portions in the 
Gentleman' 1 s Magazine. This letter appears in the Diary under the date, 
January I, 1801 : "In looking over some papers this morning I met with the 
following curious and unpublished letter of Dr. Franklin, discussing some 
topics of considerable interest with admirable good sense and sagacity, char- 
acteristic of its author. It is dated Philadelphia May 9, 1753, and is addressed 
to his friend Peter Collinson Esq." 


trious than those of Popish countries. May not the more 
numerous foundations in the latter for relief of the poor have 
some effect towards rendering them less provident? To 
relieve the misfortunes of our fellow creatures is concurring 
with the Deity ; it is godlike ; but, if we provide encourage- 
ment for laziness, and supports for folly, may we not be found 
fighting against the order of God and Nature, which per- 
haps has appointed want and misery as the proper pun- 
ishments for, and cautions against, as well as necessary 
consequences of, idleness and extravagance ? Whenever we 
attempt to amend the scheme of Providence, and to inter- 
fere with the government of the world, we had need be very 
circumspect, lest we do more harm than good. In New 
England they once thought blackbirds useless, and mis- 
chievous to the corn. They made efforts to destroy them. 
The consequence was, the blackbirds were diminished; 
but a kind of worm, which devoured their grass, and which 
the blackbirds used to feed on, increased prodigiously; 
then, finding their loss in grass much greater than their 
saving in corn, they wished again for their blackbirds. 

We had here some years since a Transylvanian Tartar, 
who had travelled much in the East, and came hither merely 
to see the West, intending to go home through the Spanish 
West Indies, China, &C. 1 He asked me one day, what I 
thought might be the reason, that so many and such numer- 
ous nations, as the Tartars in Europe and Asia, the Indians 
in America, and the Negroes in Africa, continued a wander- 
ing, careless life, and refused to live in cities, and cultivate 
the arts they saw practised by the civilized parts of man- 
kind? While I was considering what answer to make him 

1 Domien. See letter to Dr. Lining, March 18, 175$. ED. 


he said, in his broken English, "God make man for Para- 
dise. He make him for live lazy. Man make God angry. 
God turn him out of Paradise, and bid workee. Man no 
love workee; he want to go to Paradise again; he want to 
live lazy. So all mankind love lazy." However this may 
be, it seems certain that the hope of becoming at some 
time of life free from the necessity of care and labour, to- 
gether with fear of penury, are the main springs of most 
people's industry. To those, indeed, who have been educated 
in elegant plenty, even the provision made for the poor may 
appear misery ; but to those who have scarce ever been better 
provided for, such provision may seem quite good and suffi- 
cient. These latter, then, have nothing to fear worse than 
their present condition, and scarce hope for any thing better 
than a parish maintenance. So that there is only the diffi- 
culty of getting that maintenance allowed while they are 
able to work, or a little shame they suppose attending it, 
that can induce them to work at all ; and what they do, will 
only be from hand to mouth. 

The proneness of human nature to a life of ease, of free- 
dom from care and labour, appears strongly in the little 
success that has hitherto attended every attempt to civilize 
our American Indians. In their present way of living, 
almost all their wants are supplied by the spontaneous 
productions of nature, with the addition of very little labour, 
if hunting and fishing may indeed be called labour, where 
game is so plenty. They visit us frequently, and see the 
advantages that arts, sciences, and compact societies procure 
us. They are not deficient in natural understanding ; and yet 
they have never shown any inclination to change their manner 
of life for ours, or to learn any of our arts. When an Indian 


child has been brought up among us, taught our language, 
and habituated to our customs, yet, if he goes to see his 
relatives, and makes one Indian ramble with them, there 
is no persuading him ever to return. And that this is not 
natural to them merely as Indians, but as men, is plain from 
this, that when white persons, of either sex, have been taken 
prisoners by the Indians, and lived awhile with them, though 
ransomed by their friends, and treated with all imaginable 
tenderness to prevail with them to stay among the English, 
yet in a short time they become disgusted with our manner 
of life, and the care and pains that are necessary to support 
it, and take the first opportunity of escaping again into the 
woods, from whence there is no redeeming them. One 
instance I remember to have heard, where the person was 
brought home to possess a good estate; but, finding some 
care necessary to keep it together, he relinquished it to a 
younger brother, reserving to himself nothing but a gun and 
a match-coat, with which he took his way again into the 

So that I am apt to imagine that close societies, subsist- 
ing by labour and art, arose first not from choice but from 
necessity, when numbers, being driven by war from their 
hunting grounds, and prevented by seas, or by other nations, 
from obtaining other hunting grounds, were crowded to- 
gether into some narrow territories, which without labour 
could not afford them food. However, as matters now stand 
with us, care and industry seem absolutely necessary to our 
well-being. They should therefore have every encourage- 
ment we can invent, and not one motive to diligence be 
subtracted ; and the support of the poor should not be by 
maintaining them in idleness, but by employing them in 


some kind of labour suited to their abilities of body, as I am 
informed begins to be of late the practice in many parts of 
England, where workhouses are erected for that purpose. 
If these were general, I should think the poor would be more 
careful, and work voluntarily to lay up something for them- 
selves against a rainy day, rather than run the risk of being 
obliged to work at the pleasure of others for a bare subsist- 
ence, and that too under confinement. 

The little value Indians set on what we prize so highly, 
under the name of learning, appears from a pleasant passage 
that happened some years since, at a treaty between some 
colonies and the Six Nations. When every thing had been 
settled to the satisfaction of both sides, and nothing re- 
mained but a mutual exchange of civilities, the English 
Commissioners told the Indians that they had in their coun- 
try a college for the instruction of youth, who were there 
taught various languages, arts, and sciences; that there was 
a particular foundation in favour of the Indians to defray 
the expense of the education of any of their sons, who should 
desire to take the benefit of it ; and said, if the Indians would 
accept the offer, the English would take half a dozen of their 
brightest lads, and bring them up in the best manner. The 
Indians, after consulting on the proposals, replied, that it 
was remembered that some of their youths had formerly been 
educated at that college, but that it had been observed that 
for a long time after they returned to their friends, they 
were absolutely good jor nothing; being neither acquainted 
with the true methods of killing deer, catching beavers, 
or surprising an enemy. The proposition they looked on, 
however, as a mark of kindness and good will of the English 
to the Indian nations, which merited a grateful return; 


and therefore, if the English gentlemen would send a dozen 
or two of their children to Opondago, the Great Council 
would take care of their education, bring them up in what 
was really the best manner, and make men of them. 

1 1 am perfectly of your Mind, that Measures of great 
Temper are necessary with the Germans ; and am not with- 
out Apprehensions, that, through their Indiscretion, or ours, 
or both, great Disorders may one day arise among us. Those 
who come hither are generally of the most ignorant stupid 
sort of their own Nation, and, as Ignorance is often attended 
with Credulity when Knavery would mislead it, and with 
Suspicion when Honesty would set it right; and as few of 
the English understand the German language, and so can- 
not address them either from the Press or Pulpit, it is almost 
impossible to remove any Prejudices they may entertain. 
Their own Clergy have very little Influence over their people, 
who seem to take an uncommon Pleasure in abusing and 
discharging the Minister on every trivial Occasion. Not 
being used to Liberty, they know not how to make a modest 
Use of it. And as Kolben in his History says of the young 
Hottentots, that they are not esteemed Men until they have 
shown their Manhood by beating their Mothers, so these 
seem not to think themselves Free, till they can feel their 
Liberty in abusing and insulting their Teachers. Thus 
they are under no Restraint from ecclesiastical Government ; 
they behave, however, submissively enough at present to 
the civil Government, which I wish they may continue to 
do, for I remember when they modestly declined inter- 

1 Everything from the beginning of this paragraph to the end of the letter 
was copied by Peter Collinson and sent by him to Mr. Wetstein. The copy 
is in the British Museum (Wetstein Correspondence, 32, 420). ED. 


meddling in our Elections, but now they come in Droves 
and carry all before them, except in one or two Counties. 

Few of their Children in the Country learn English. They 
import many Books from Germany; and of the six Print- 
ing-Houses in the Province, two are entirely German, two 
half German half English, and but two entirely English. 
They have one German Newspaper, and one half-German. 
Advertisements, intended to be general, are now printed in 
Dutch and English. The Signs in our Streets have Inscrip- 
tions in both Languages, and in some places only German. 
They begin of late to make all their Bonds and other legal 
Instruments in their own Language, which (though I think 
it ought not to be) are allowed good in our Courts, where 
the German Business so increases, that there is continued 
need of Interpreters ; and I suppose in a few Years they will 
also be necessary in the Assembly, to tell one half of our 
Legislators what the other half say. 

In short, unless the Stream of their Importation could be 
turned from this to other Colonies, as you very judiciously 
propose, they will soon so outnumber us, that all the advan- 
tages we have, will not in my Opinion be able to preserve 
our Language, and even our Government will become pre- 
carious. The French, who watch all Advantages, are now 
themselves making a German Settlement, back of us, in the 
Illinois Country, and by means of these Germans they may 
in time come to an understanding with ours; and, indeed, 
in the last War, our Germans showed a general Disposition, 
that seemed to bode us no good. For, when the English, 
who were not Quakers, alarmed by the Danger arising 
from the defenceless State of our Country, entered unani- 
mously into an Association, and within this Government and 


the Lower Counties raised, armed, and disciplined near ten 
thousand Men, the Germans, except a very few in propor- 
tion to their Number, refused to engage in it, giving out, 
one amongst another, and even in Print, that, if they were 
quiet, the French, should they take the Country, would not 
molest them; at the same time abusing the Philadelphians 
for fitting out Privateers against the Enemy, and represent- 
ing the Trouble, Hazard, and Expense of defending the 
Province, as a greater Inconvenience than any that might 
be expected from a change of Government. Yet I am not 
entirely for refusing to admit them into our Colonies. All 
that seems to me necessary is, to distribute them more equally, 
mix them with the English, establish English Schools, where 
they are now too thick settled; and take some care to pre- 
vent the Practice, lately fallen into by some of the Ship- 
Owners of sweeping the German Gaols to make up the 
Number of their Passengers. I say, I am not against the 
Admission of Germans in general, for they have their Vir- 
tues. Their Industry and Frugality are exemplary. They 
are excellent Husbandmen; and contribute greatly to the 
Improvement of a Country. 

I pray God to preserve long to Great Britain the English 
Laws, Manners, Liberties, and Religion. Notwithstanding 
the Complaints so frequent in your public Papers, of the 
prevailing Corruption and Degeneracy of the People, I 
know you have a great deal of Virtue still subsisting among 
you ; and I hope the Constitution is not so near a Dissolution, 
as some seem to apprehend. I do not think you are gener- 
ally become such Slaves to your Vices, as to draw down the 
Justice Milton speaks of, when he says, that l 

1 Mitford says that the manuscript from which he transcribed the letter 


157. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN l (p. c.) 
Philadelphia, May 9. 1753. 

DEAR SIR : I have your favour of January 3oth, and 
thank you for the civility shown, on my recommendation, 
to Mr. Harris. What you mention concerning the books 
was not at all amiss. 

Neither the second volume of Bower's History of the 
Popes, nor Delaresse's Art of Painting, nor Crito, are to be 
found in any of Mr. Hall's trunks. 

I have settled a nephew of mine in Antigua, in the place 
of Mr. Smith, deceased. I take him to be a very honest, 
industrious lad, and hope he will do well there, and in time 
be of some use to you as a correspondent. Please to send 
him a little cargo of books and stationery agreeable to the 
invoice below. I will send you a bill on this account perhaps 
per next ship. 

Please to send my compliments to Mrs. Strahan and 
Master Billy. I am, sir, your obliged humble servant, 


3 ream propatria, best cut. 2 Ib. wafers, some large 
2 Do. pot. i doz. common Bibles 

i Do. fine post. i doz. Testaments 

ended thus abruptly. He supposed that "beyond all question," the words 
of Milton alluded to are the following : 

" Yet sometimes nations will decline so low 
From virtue which is reason, that no wrong 
But justice, and some fatal curse annex'd 
Deprives them of their outward liberty, 
Their inward lost." Paradise Lost, XII, 97. ED. 

1 From John Bigelow, " The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin," Vol. 
X, p. 266. ED. 

1753] TO JOSEPH HUEY 143 

500 best quills. i doz. Psalters 

3 doz. British ink powder. 2 doz. Primers. 

And a few of your newest and most salable books, amount- 
ing in the whole to about 25 sterling. 

Philadelphia, June 4. 1753. 

SIR : The above is a copy of mine per Reeves. This 
is only to request you would send me here the quarto abridg- 
ment of the Philosophical Transactions, except the first five 
volumes, which I have. Send me also Fielding's Proposals 
for Employing the Poor. In haste, I am yours, 


The five volumes of Transactions I have, are abridged by 
Lowthrop and Jones. All well. Mr. Hall out of town. 

158. TO JOSEPH HUEY 1 (A. P. s.) 

SIR, Philadelphia, June 6, 1753. 

I received your kind Letter of the 2d inst., and am glad 
to hear that you increase in Strength; I hope you will con- 
tinue mending, 'till you recover your former Health and 
firmness. Let me know whether you still use the Cold 
Bath, and what Effect it has. 

As to the Kindness you mention, I wish it could have been 
of more Service to you. But if it had, the only Thanks I 
should desire is, that you would always be equally ready to 

1 It has been generally supposed that this letter was addressed to George 
Whitefield. The rough draft in the A. P. S. is indorsed in Franklin's hand- 
writing, " Letter to Joseph Huey." Another draft of the letter exists in the 
Stevens Collection, L. C. J. Huey, I7<>7( ?)-i773, lived in Drumore township, 
Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. ED. 


serve any other Person that may need your Assistance, and 
so let good Offices go round, for Mankind are all of a 

For my own Part, when I am employed in serving others, 
I do not look upon myself as conferring Favours, but as 
paying Debts. In my Travels, and since my Settlement, 
I have received much Kindness from Men, to whom I shall 
never have any Opportunity of making the least direct 
Return. And numberless Mercies from God, who is infinitely 
above being benefited by our Services. Those Kindnesses 
from Men, I can therefore only Return on their Fellow Men ; 
and I can only shew my Gratitude for these mercies from 
God, by a readiness to help his other Children and my 
Brethren. For I do not think that Thanks and Compli- 
ments, tho' repeated weekly, can discharge our real Obliga- 
tions to each other, and much less those to our Creator. You 
will see in this my Notion of good Works, that I am far from 
expecting [(as you suppose) that I shall ever] l to merit 
Heaven by them. By Heaven we understand a State of 
Happiness, infinite in Degree, and eternal in Duration: I 
can do nothing to deserve such rewards : He that for giving 
a Draught of Water to a thirsty Person, should expect to be 
paid with a good Plantation, would be modest in his Demands, 
compared with those who think they deserve Heaven for the 
little good they do on Earth. Even the mix'd imperfect 
Pleasures we enjoy in this World, are rather from God's 
Goodness than our Merit ; how much more such Happiness 
of Heaven. For my own part I have not the Vanity to think 
I deserve it, the Folly to expect it, nor the Ambition to desire 
it ; but content myself in submitting to the Will and Disposal 

1 This passage is found in the draft in A. P. S. ED. 

1753] TO JOSEPH HUEY 145 

of that God who made me, who has hitherto preserv'd and 
bless'd me, and in whose Fatherly Goodness I may well 
confide, that he will never make me miserable, and that 
even the Afflictions I may at any time suffer shall tend to 
my Benefit. 

The Faith you mention has doubtless its use in the World. 
I do not desire to see it diminished, nor would I endeavour 
to lessen it in any Man. But I wish it were more produc- 
tive of good Works, than I have generally seen it : I mean 
real good Works, Works of Kindness, Charity, Mercy, and 
Publick Spirit; not Holiday-keeping, Sermon-Reading or 
Hearing; performing Church Ceremonies, or making long 
Prayers, filled with Flatteries and Compliments, despis'd 
even by wise Men, and much less capable of pleasing the 
Deity. The worship of God is a Duty; the hearing and 
reading of Sermons may be useful ; but, if Men rest in Hear- 
ing and Praying, as too many do, it is as if a Tree should 
Value itself on being water' d and putting forth Leaves, tho' 
it never produced any Fruit. 

Your great Master tho't much less of these outward Appear- 
ances and Professions than many of his modern Disciples. 
He prefer'd the Doers of the Word, to the meer Hearers; the 
Son that seemingly refused to obey his Father, and yet per- 
form'd his Commands, to him that professed his Readiness, 
but neglected the Work ; the heretical but charitable Samar- 
itan, to the uncharitable tho' orthodox Priest and sanctified 
Levite; & those who gave Food to the hungry, Drink to 
the Thirsty, Raiment to the Naked, Entertainment to the 
Stranger, and Relief to the Sick, tho' they never heard of his 
Name, he declares shall in the last Day be accepted, when 
those who cry Lord ! Lord ! who value themselves on their 

VOL. Ill L 


Faith, tho' great enough to perform Miracles, but have 
neglected good Works, shall be rejected. He profess'd, 
that he came not to call the Righteous but Sinners to repent- 
ance; which imply'd his modest Opinion, that there were 
some in his Time so good, that they need not hear even him 
for Improvement; 1 but now-a-days we have scarce a little 
Parson, that does not think it the Duty of every Man within 
his Reach to sit under his petty Ministrations; and that 
whoever omits them [offends God. I wish to such more 
humility, and to you health and happiness, being your 

friend and servant,] 2 


159. TO PETER COLLINSON 3 (P. c.) 

Newhaven in Connecticut 

DEAR FRIEND J une 26 > '753- 

I received a Letter from you on the Road hither, with one 
of my Supplementary Papers on Electricity; and a Letter 
from our friend Kalm. 

1 In all the printed copies this passage is found as follows : " which implied 
his modest opinion, that there were some in his time, who thought themselves 
so good, that they need not hear even him for improvement." The words 
here Italicized are not contained in the original draft. ED. 

2 The passage within brackets is found in the L. C. copy only. ED. 

8 From the collection of Eliot Reed, Esq. I have omitted the last para- 
graph, which is a recommendation of William Smith, from whom early in 
April Franklin had received a copy of his pamphlet, " The Idea of the College 
of Mirania." 

Upon the back of the letter Peter Collinson had written the following 
strange note : "There was no occasion of any Phylosophy on this ever to be 
lamented occasion. Peter Collinson had few feelings but for Himself. The 
same Principle that led him to deprive his son of his Birthright when that son 
lay in the Agonies of Death and knew not what he put his hand to, supported 
Peter Collinson in the loss of the best of Women in a manner that did no 
Honour to his Feelings, his Gratitude or his Humanity." ED. 


I condole with you sincerely on the Death of Mrs. Collin- 
son : I do not, however, offer to comfort you by Arguments 
drawn from Philosophy or Religion, such will readily occur 
to a Person of your Understanding and Piety. Natural 
Affections must have their Course. The best Remedy of 
Grief is Time. . . . 

In one of your late Letters you mention'd that besides 
the bountiful Benefaction then sent us by the Proprietary 
he meditated some Endowments for the Academy if he 
should find it answer his Expectations. I hope it will 
answer and even exceed his Expectations. We now only 
want a Person in the Academy qualified to teach the higher 
Parts of Learning, and finish the Youth in their Education. 
This Finishing, given by the Proprietor's Beneficence would 
in my Opinion leave the most lasting Impressions of Grat- 
itude and Respect, and be productive of the best Effects in 
a due Regard and Veneration for the Family among those 
who by their Education and Stations will be most capable of 
serving it; especially as the Professor himself, being under 
the greatest Obligation to the Founders may take all Oppor- 
tunities of making and fixing those Impressions in the Minds 
of his Pupils. 

160. TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN (A. p. s.) 

Boston July 23. 1753 


I am pleas'd to learn by yours of the 12 th that you have 
taken a circumstantial Ace* of the Appearances at Trumble's 
House, which you think sufficient to establish my new Hy- 
pothesis of the Direction of Lightning. 


M r . Kinnersley has sent me a Pane of the Glass with a 
Letter in which he mentions his Suspicions that the Stroke 
was upwards. I now write him a short Ace 1 of the Experi- 
ments I made before I left home, & refer him to you for the 
Explanation according to the new Hypothesis, which I have 
not now time to give him at length 

I hope the Co Ream of Paper, Law Size N 2. which I 
ordered Shutz to make for M r Holbrook here, is come down 
from the Mill before this time. Send it per first Vessel to 
that Gentleman 

I purpose to set out next Monday, God willing, on my 
Return ; and hope to be at home about the Middle of August, 
not exceeding the 2o th 

My Compliments to all Enquiring Friends. I am, D r 


Your affectionate Father 



Philadelphia, September 1753. 


In my former paper on this subject, wrote first in 1747, 
enlarged and sent to England in 1749, I considered the sea 
as the grand source of lightning, imagining its luminous 
appearance to be owing to electric fire, produced by friction 
between the particles of water and those of salt. Living 
far from the sea, I had then no opportunity of making experi- 
ments on the sea water, and so embraced this opinion too 

1 From "Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, 
p. 113. 


For in 1750 and 1751, being occasionally on the seacoast, 
I found, by experiments, that sea water in a bottle, tho' at 
first it would by agitation appear luminous, yet in a few 
hours it lost that virtue; hence, and from this, that I could 
not by agitating a solution of sea salt in water produce any 
light, I first began to doubt of my former hypothesis, and to 
suspect, that the luminous appearance in sea water must 
be owing to some other principles. 

I then considered whether it were not possible, that the 
particles of air, being electrics per se, might, in hard gales 
of wind, by their friction against trees, hills, buildings, &c., 
as so many minute electric globes, rubbing against non- 
electric cushions, draw the electric fire from the earth, and 
that the rising vapours might receive that fire from the air, 
and by such means the clouds become electrified. 

If this were so, I imagined that by forcing a constant 
violent stream of air against my prime conductor, by bellows, 
I should electrify it negatively; the rubbing particles of air 
drawing from it part of its natural quantity of the electric 
fluid. I accordingly made the experiment, but it did not 

In September 1752, I erected an iron rod to draw the 
lightning down into my house, in order to make some ex- 
periments on it, with two bells to give notice when the rod 
should be electrify'd : a contrivance obvious to every elec- 

I found the bells rang sometimes when there was no 
lightning or thunder, but only a dark cloud over the rod; 
that sometimes, after a flash of lightning, they would sud- 
denly stop; and, at other times, when they had not rang 
before, they would, after a flash, suddenly begin to ring; 


that the electricity was sometimes very faint, so that, when a 
small spark was obtain'd, another could not be got for some 
time after ; at other times the sparks would follow extremely 
quick, and once I had a continual stream from bell to bell, 
the size of a crow-quill: Even during the same gust there 
were considerable variations. 

In the winter following I conceived an experiment, to try 
whether the clouds were electrify'd positively or negatively; 
but my pointed rod, with its apparatus, becoming out of 
order, I did not refit it till towards the spring, when I ex- 
pected the warm weather would bring on more frequent 
thunder- clouds. 

The experiment was this: To take two phials; charge 
one of them with lightning from the iron rod, and give the 
other an equal charge by the electric glass globe, thro' the 
prime conductor: When charg'd, to place them on a table 
within three or four inches of each other, a small cork ball 
being suspended by a fine silk thread from the ceiling, so as 
it might play between the wires. If both bottles then were 
electrify'd positively, the ball, being attracted and repelled 
by one, must be also repell'd by the other. If the one posi- 
tively, and the other negatively, then the ball would be 
attracted and repell'd alternately by each, and continue to 
play between them as long as any considerable charge 

Being very intent on making this experiment, it was no 
small mortification to me, that I happened to be abroad 
during two of the greatest thunder-storms we had early in 
the spring, and, tho' I had given orders in my family, that, 
if the bells rang when I was from home, they should catch 
some of the lightning for me in electrical phials, and they 


did so, yet it was mostly dissipated before my return, and 
in some of the other gusts, the quantity of lightning I was 
able to obtain was so small, and the charge so weak, that 
I could not satisfy myself: Yet I sometimes saw what 
heighten'd my suspicions, and inflamed my curiosity. 

At last, on the i2th of April, 1753, there being a smart 
gust of some continuance, I charg'd one phial pretty well with 
lightning, and the other equally, as near as I could judge, 
with electricity from my glass globe; and, having placed 
them properly, I beheld, with great surprize and pleasure, 
the cork ball play briskly between them, and was convinced, 
that one bottle was electrised negatively. 

I repeated this experiment several times during the gust, 
and in eight succeeding gusts, always with the same success ; 
and being of opinion (for reasons I formerly gave in my 
letter to Mr. Kinnersly, since printed in London), that the 
glass globe electrises positively, I concluded, that the clouds 
are always electrised negatively, or have always in them 
less than their natural quantity of the electric fluid. 

Yet notwithstanding so many experiments, it seems 
I concluded too soon; for at last, June the 6th, in a gust 
which continued from five o'clock, P. M., to seven, I met 
with one cloud that was electrised positively, tho' several 
that pass'd over my rod before, during the same gust, were 
in the negative state. This was thus discovered : 

I had another concurring experiment, which I often 
repeated, to prove the negative state of the clouds, viz., 
While the bells were ringing, I took the phial charged from 
the glass globe, and applied its wire to the erected rod, 
considering, that if the clouds were electrised positively, 
the rod which received its electricity from them, must 


be so too; and then the additional positive electricity of 
the phial would make the bells ring faster : But, if the clouds 
were in a negative state, they must exhaust the electric 
fluid from my rod, and bring that into the same negative 
state with themselves, and then the wire of a positively 
charg'd phial, supplying the rod with what it wanted (which 
it was obliged otherwise to draw from the earth by means of 
the pendulous brass ball playing between the two bells) 
the ringing would cease till the bottle was discharged. 

In this manner I quite discharged into the rod several 
phials that were charged from the glass globe, the electric 
fluid streaming from the wire to the rod, 'till the wire would 
receive no spark from the finger; and during this supply 
to the rod from the phial, the bells stopt ringing; but by 
continuing the application of the phial wire to the rod, I 
exhausted the natural quantity from the inside surface 
of the same phials, or, as I call it, charged them negatively. 

At length, while I was charging a phial by my glass globe, 
to repeat this experiment, my bells, of themselves, stopt 
ringing, and, after some pause, began to ring again. But 
now, when I approached the wire of the charg'd phial to 
the rod, instead of the usual stream that I expected from 
the wire to the rod, there was no spark ; not even when I 
brought the wire and the rod to touch ; yet the bells continued 
ringing vigorously, which proved to me, that the rod was 
then positively electrify 'd, as well as the wire of the phial, 
and equally so; and, consequently, that the particular 
cloud then over the rod, was in the same positive state. 
This was near the end of the gust. 

But this was a single experiment, which, however, destroys 
my first too general conclusion, and reduces me to this: 

1753] TO PETER COLLINSO!* 153 

That the clouds oj a thunder-gust are most commonly in a 
negative state of electricity, but sometimes in a positive state. 

The latter I believe is rare; for, tho' I soon after the 
last experiment, set out on a journey to Boston, and was 
from home most part of the summer, which prevented my 
making farther trials and observations; yet Mr. Kinners- 
ley, returning from the islands just as I left home, pursued 
the experiments during my absence, and informs me, that 
he always found the clouds in the negative state. 

So that, for the most part, in thunder-strokes, 'tis the 
earth that strikes into tJie clouds, and not tlte clouds that strike 
into the earth. 

Those who are vers'd in electric experiments, will easily 
conceive, that the effects and appearances must be nearly 
the same in either case; the same explosion, and the same 
flash between one cloud and another, and between the clouds 
and mountains, &c., the same rending of trees, walls, &c., 
which the electric fluid meets with in its passage, and the 
same fatal shock to animal bodies; and that pointed rods 
fix'd on buildings, or masts of ships, and communicating with 
the earth or sea, must be of the same service in restoring 
the equilibrium silently between the earth and clouds, or 
in conducting a flash or stroke, if one should be, so as to 
save harmless the house or vessel: For points have equal 
power to throw off, as to draw on the electric fire, and 
rods will conduct up as well as down. 

But tho' the light gained from these experiments makes 
no alteration in the practice, it makes a considerable one 
in the theory. And now we as much need an hypothesis 
to explain by what means the clouds become negatively, 
as before to shew how they became positively electrified. 


I cannot forbear venturing some few conjectures on 
this occasion: They are what occur to me at present, and, 
tho' future discoveries should prove them not wholly right, 
yet they may in the mean time be of some use, by stirring 
up the curious to make more experiments, and occasion 
more exact disquisitions. 

I conceive then, that this globe of earth and water, with 
its plants, animals, and buildings, have, diffused through- 
out their substance, a quantity of the electric fluid, just as 
much as they can contain, which I call the natural quantity. 

That this natural quantity is not the same in all kinds 
of common matter under the same dimensions, nor in the 
same kind of common matter in all circumstances; but 
a solid foot, for instance, of one kind of common matter, 
may contain more of the electric fluid than a solid foot of 
some other kind of common matter; and a pound weight 
of the same kind of common matter may, when in a rarer 
state, contain more of the electric fluid than when in a denser 

For the electric fluid, being attracted by any portion 
of common matter, the parts of that fluid (which have among 
themselves a mutual repulsion) are brought so near to 
each other by the attraction of the common matter that 
absorbs them, as that their repulsion is equal to the con- 
densing power of attraction in common matter; and then 
such portion of common matter will absorb no more. 

Bodies of different kinds, having thus attracted and 
absorbed what I call their natural quantity, i.e. just as 
much of the electric fluid as is suited to their circumstances 
of density, rarity, and power of attracting, do not then 
show any signs of electricity among each other. 


And if more electric fluid be added to one of these bodies, 
it does not enter, but spreads on the surface, forming an 
atmosphere; and then such body shews signs of electricity. 

I have in a former paper compar'd common matter 
to a sponge, and the electric fluid to water: I beg leave 
once more to make use of the same comparison, to illustrate 
farther my meaning in this particular. 

When a sponge is somewhat condens'd by being squeezed 
between the fingers, it will not receive and retain so much 
water as when in its more loose and open state. 

If more squeez'd and condens'd, some of the water will 
come out of its inner parts, and flow on the surface. 

If the pressure of the fingers be entirely removed, the 
sponge will not only resume what was lately forced out, 
but attract an additional quantity. 

As the sponge in its rarer state will naturally attract 
and absorb more water, and in its denser state will natu- 
rally attract and absorb less water ; we may call the quantity 
it attracts and absorbs in either state, its natural quantity, 
the state being considered. 

Now what the sponge is to water, the same is water to 
the electric fluid. 

When a portion of water is in its common dense state, 
it can hold no more electric fluid than it has; if any be 
added, it spreads on the surface. 

When the same portion of water is rarefy'd into vapour, 
and forms a cloud, it is then capable of receiving and absorb- 
ing a much greater quantity ; there is room for each particle 
to have an electric atmosphere. 

Thus water, in its rarefy 'd state, or in the form of a cloud, 
will be in a negative state of electricity; it will have less 


than its natural quantity; that is, less than it is naturally 
capable of attracting and absorbing in that state. 

Such a cloud, then, coming so near the earth as to be 
within the striking distance, will receive from the earth 
a flash of the electric fluid; which flash, to supply a great 
extent of cloud, must sometimes contain a very great quantity 
of that fluid. 

Or such a cloud, passing over woods of tall trees, may 
from the points and sharp edges of their moist top leaves, 
receive silently some supply. 

A cloud, being by any means supply 'd from the earth, 
may strike into other clouds that have not been supply'd, 
or not so much supply'd ; and those to others, till an equi- 
librium is produc'd among all the clouds that are within 
striking distance of each other. 

The cloud thus supply'd, having parted with much of 
what it first receiv'd, may require and receive a fresh supply 
from the earth, or from some other cloud, which, by the wind, 
is brought into such a situation as to receive it more readily 
from the earth. 

Hence repeated and continual strokes and flashes till 
the clouds have all got nearly their natural quantity as clouds, 
or till they have descended in showers, and are united again 
with this terraqueous globe, their original. 

Thus thunder-clouds are generally in a negative state 
of electricity compar'd with the earth, agreeable to most 
of our experiments; yet as by one experiment we found a 
cloud electris'd positively, I conjecture that, in that case, 
such cloud, after having received what was, in its rare state, 
only its natural quantity, became compress'd by the driving 
winds, or some other means, so that part of what it had 


absorbed was forc'd out, and form'd an electric atmosphere 
around it in its denser state. Hence it was capable of com- 
municating positive electricity to my rod. 

To show that a body in different circumstances of dilatation 
and contraction is capable of receiving and retaining more 
or less of the electric fluid on its surface, I would relate 
the following experiment. I placed a clean wine-glass 
on the floor, and on it a small silver can. In the can I put 
about three yards of brass chain; to one end of which I 
fastened a silk thread, which went right up to the cieling, 
where it passed over a pulley, and came down again to my 
hand, that I might at pleasure draw the chain up out of the 
can, extending it till within a foot of the cieling, and let it 
gradually sink into the can again. From the cieling, by 
another thread of fine raw silk, I suspended a small light 
lock of cotton, so as that when it hung perpendicularly, it 
came in contact with the side of the can. Then approaching 
the wire of a charged vial to the can, I gave it a spark, which 
flow'd round in an electric atmosphere; and the lock of 
cotton was repelled from the side of the can to the distance 
of about nine or ten inches. The can would not then receive 
another spark from the wire of the vial ; but, as I gradually 
drew up the chain, the atmosphere of the can diminished 
by flowing over the rising chain, and the lock of cotton ac- 
cordingly drew nearer and nearer to the can ; and then, if 
I again brought the vial wire near the can, it would receive 
another spark, and the cotton fly off again to its first distance ; 
and thus, as the chain was drawn higher, the can would 
receive more sparks; because the can and extended chain 
were capable of supporting a greater atmosphere than the 
can with the chain gathered up into its belly. And that the 


atmosphere round the can was diminished by raising the 
chain, and increased again by lowering it, is not only agree- 
able to reason, since the atmosphere of the chain must be 
drawn from that of the can, when it rose, and returned 
to it again when it fell ; but was also evident to the eye, the 
lock of cotton always approaching the can when the chain 
was drawn up, and receding when it was let down again. 

Thus we see, that increase of surface makes a body capable 
of receiving a greater electric atmosphere : But this experiment 
does not, I own, fully demonstrate my new hypothesis; 
for the brass and silver still continue in their solid state, 
and are not rarefied into vapour, as the water is in clouds. 
Perhaps some future experiments on vapourized water may 
set this matter in a clearer light. 

One seemingly material objection arises to the new hypoth- 
esis, and it is this. If water, in its rarefied state, as a 
cloud, requires and will absorb more of the electric fluid 
than when in its dense state as water, why does it not acquire 
from the earth all it wants at the instant of its leaving the 
surface, while it is yet near, and but just rising in vapour? 
To this difficulty I own I cannot at present give a solution 
satisfactory to myself: I thought, however, that I ought to 
state it in its full force, as I have done, and submit the 
whole to examination. 

And I would beg leave to recommend it to the curious 
in this branch of natural philosophy, to repeat with care 
and accurate observation the experiments I have reported 
in this and former papers relating to positive and negative 
electricity, with such other relative ones as shall occur to 
them, that it may be certainly known whether the electricity 
communicated by a glass globe be really positive. And also 


I would request all who may have an opportunity of observ- 
ing the recent effects of lightning on buildings, trees, &c., 
that they would consider them particularly with a view to 
discover the direction. But in these examinations, this 
one thing is always to be understood, viz., that, a stream 
of the electric fluid passing thro' wood, brick, metal, &c., 
while such fluid passes in small quantity, the mutually 
repulsive power of its parts is confined and overcome by 
the cohesion of the parts of the body it passes thro' so as 
to prevent an explosion; but, when the fluid comes in a 
quantity too great to be confined by such cohesion, it explodes, 
and rends or fuses the body that endeavoured to confine it. 
If it be wood, brick, stone, or the like, the splinters will 
flie off on that side where there is least resistance. And 
thus, when a hole is struck thro' pasteboard by the elec- 
trify 'd jar, if the surfaces of the pasteboard are not con- 
fin'd or compress'd, there will be a bur rais'd all round the 
hole on both sides the pasteboard ; but if one side be con- 
fin'd, so that the bur cannot be rais'd on that side, it will 
be all raised on the other; which way soever the fluid was 
directed. For the bur round the outside of the hole is the 
effect of the explosion every way from the center of the 
stream, and not an effect of the direction. 

In every stroke of lightning, I am of opinion that the 
stream of the electric fluid, moving to restore the equilibrium 
between the cloud and the earth, does always previously 
find its passage, and mark out, as I may say, its own course, 
taking in its way all the conductors it can find, such as 
metals, damp walls, moist wood, &c., and will go con- 
siderably out of a direct course, for the sake of the assistance 
of good conductors; and that, in this course, it is actually 


moving, tho' silently and imperceptibly, before the explosion, 
in and among the conductors; which explosion happens 
only when the conductors cannot discharge it as fast as 
they receive it, by reason of their being incompleat, dis- 
united, too small, or not of the best materials for conduct- 
ing. Metalline rods, therefore, of sufficient thickness, and 
extending from the highest part of an edifice to the ground, 
being of the best materials and compleat conductors, will, 
I think, secure the building from damage, either by restoring 
the equilibrium so fast as to prevent a stroke, or by conducting 
it in the substance of the rod as far as the rod goes, so that 
there shall be no explosion but what is above its point be- 
tween that and the clouds. 

If it be ask'd, What thickness of a metalline rod may be 
supposed sufficient? in answer, I would remark, that five 
large glass jars, such as I have described in my former papers, 
discharge a very great quantity of electricity, which never- 
theless will be all conducted round the corner of a book, 
by the fine filletting of gold on the cover, it following the gold 
the farthest way about, rather than take the shorter course 
through the cover, that not being so good a conductor. Now 
in this line of gold, the metal is so extremely thin as to be 
little more than the colour of gold, and on an octavo book 
is not in the whole an inch square, and therefore not the 
thirty-sixth part of a grain, according to M. Reaumur; yet 
'tis sufficient to conduct the charge of five large jars, and how 
many more I know not. Now, I suppose a wire of a quarter 
an inch diameter to contain about 5000 times as much 
metal as there is in that gold line ; and, if so, it will conduct 
the charge of 25,000 such glass jars, which is a quantity, I 
imagine, far beyond what was ever contained in any one 


stroke of natural lightning. But a rod of half an inch diam- 
eter would conduct four times as much as one of a quarter. 

And with regard to conducting, tho' a certain thickness 
of metal be required to conduct a great quantity of electricity, 
and, at the same time, keep its own substance firm and 
unseparated; and a less quantity, as a very small wire for 
instance, will be destroyed by the explosion; yet such small 
wire will have answered the end of conducting that 
stroke, tho' it become incapable of conducting another. 
And considering the extream rapidity with which the electric 
fluid moves without exploding, when it has a free passage, 
or compleat metal communication, I should think a vast 
quantity would be conducted in a short time, either to or 
from a cloud, to restore its equilibrium with the earth, by 
means of a very small wire ; and therefore thick rods should 
seem not so necessary. However, as the quantity of light- 
ning discharg'd in one stroke, cannot well be measured, and 
in different strokes is certainly very various, in some much 
greater than in others; and as iron (the best metal for the 
purpose, being least apt to fuse) is cheap, it may be well 
enough to provide a larger canal to guide that impetuous 
blast, than we imagine necessary: For, though one mid- 
dling wire may be sufficient, two or three can do no harm. 
And time, with careful observations well compared, will at 
length point out the proper size to greater certainty. 

Pointed rods erected on edifices may likewise often pre- 
vent a stroke, in the following manner. An eye so situated 
as to view horizontally the under side of a thunder- cloud, 
will see it very ragged, with a number of separate fragments, 
or petty clouds, one under another, the lowest sometimes 
not far from the earth. These, as so many stepping-stones, 

VOL. Ill M 


assist in conducting a stroke between the cloud and a build- 
ing. To represent these by an experiment, take two or three 
locks of fine loose cotton, connect one of them with the prime 
conductor by a fine thread of two inches (which may be 
spun out of the same lock by the fingers), another to that, 
and the third to the second, by like threads. Turn the 
globe, and you will see these locks extend themselves towards 
the table (as the lower small clouds do towards the earth), 
being attracted by it: But on presenting a sharp point 
erect under the lowest, it will shrink up to the second, the 
second to the first, and all together to the prime conductor, 
where they will continue as long as the point continues under 
them. May not, in like manner, the small electrised clouds, 
whose equilibrium with the earth is soon restor'd by the 
point, rise up to the main body, and by that means occasion 
so large a vacancy, as that the grand cloud cannot strike 
in that place? 

These thoughts, my dear friend, are many of them crude 
and hasty ; and if I were merely ambitious of acquiring some 
reputation in philosophy, I ought to keep them by me, till 
corrected and improved by time and farther experience. 
But since even short hints and imperfect experiments in any 
new branch of science, being communicated, have often- 
times a good effect, in exciting the attention of the ingenious 
to the subject, and so become the occasion of more exact 
disquisition, and more compleat discoveries. You are at 
liberty to communicate this paper to whom you please; it 
being of more importance that knowledge should increase, 
than that your friend should be thought an accurate philoso- 




Philadelphia, October 18, 1753. 


I recollect that I promised to send you Dr. Brownrigg's 
Treatise on Common Salt. You will receive it herewith. 
I hope it may be of use in the affair of your fishery. Please 
to communicate it to Captain Erwin, Mr. Pitts, Mr. Bouti- 
neau, or any other of your friends, who may be desirous of 
seeing it. 

Since my return from Boston, I have been to our western 
frontiers on a treaty with the Ohio Indians. They com- 
plained much of the abuses they suffer from our traders, 
and earnestly requested us to put the trade under some 
regulation. If you can procure and send me your truck- 
house law, and a particular account of the manner of exe- 
cuting it, with its consequences, &c., so that we may have 
the benefit of your experience, you will much oblige me; 
and if you have found it a useful law, I am in hopes we shall 
be induced to follow your good example. 

My compliments to Mrs. Bowdoin and all inquiring friends. 
With much respect and esteem, I am, dear Sir, &c. 



Philadelphia, October 25, 1753. 


This last summer, I have enjoyed very little of the pleasure 
of reading or writing. I made a long journey to the eastward, 

1 First printed by Sparks. 2 Ibid. 


which consumed ten weeks ; and two journeys to our western 
frontier. One of them, to meet and hold a treaty with the 
Ohio Indians, in company with Mr. Peters and Mr. Norris. 
I shall send you a copy of that treaty, as soon as it is pub- 
lished. I should be glad to know whether the Act, mentioned 
in your "History of the Five Nations," to prevent the people 
of New York from supplying the French with Indian goods, 
still subsists, and is duly executed. 1 

I left your book with Mr. Bowdoin, in Boston. I hope 
you will hear from him this winter. I observed extracts 
from it in all the Magazines, and in the Monthly Review, 
but I see no observations on it. I send you herewith Nollet's 
book. M. Dalibard writes me, that he is just about to pub- 
lish an answer to it, which, perhaps, may save me the trouble. 

I hope soon to find time to finish my new Hypothesis of 
Thunder and Lightning, which I shall immediately com- 
municate to you. I sent you, by our friend Bartram, some 
meteorological conjectures for your amusement. When 
perused, please to return them, as I have no copy. With 
sincere esteem and respect, I am, dear Sir, &c. 


1 Mr. Golden replied, November igth. "We have at present no law in 
this province for restraining the trade to Canada, except that by which a duty 
is laid on Indian goods sold out of the city of Albany, and applied for support 
of the garrison at Oswego. It is certain, that a very considerable trade is 
carried on between Albany and Canada by means of the Caghnawaga, or French 
Indians, all of them deserters from the Five Nations. When I was last at 
Albany there were at least two hundred of them, stout young fellows, at one 
time in the town. The Indians have passports from the governor of Canada, 
and I therefore conclude that this trade is thought beneficial to the French 
interest, and it may be a great inducement to our Indians to desert, by the 
benefit they receive from it ; for none are allowed to be the carriers between 
Albany and Canada, but French Indians." ED. 


164. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 1 (P. c.) 

Philadelphia, October 27. 1753. 

DEAR SIR: I have your favour of June 27th, and am 
quite surprised at the conduct of Mr. Harris. He is returned 
to Maryland, as I hear, a parson. 

I have now received Bower's second volume, and shall 
send to the Trenton Library to enquire after Crito and 

The sum was 25 to which I limited the books, etc, to 
be sent to my nephew, Benjamin Mecom. But if you have 
sent to the amount of 30, it is not amiss. 

I am now about to establish a small printing-office in favour 
of another nephew, at New Haven, in the Colony of Connect- 
icut, in New England ; a considerable town, in which there 
is a university, and a prospect that a bookseller shop, with 
a printing-house, may do pretty well. I would therefore 
request you to bespeak for me of Mr. Caslon, viz. : 

300 Ibs. long primer, with figures and signs sufficient for 
an almanac. 

300 Ibs. pica. 

ico Ibs. great primer. 

iu T? r u Roman 

300 Ibs. English. 

60 Ibs. double pica. - ,. 

50 Ibs. two-line English. 

40 Ibs. two-line great primer. 
30 Ibs. two-line capitals and flowers for different fonts. 
20 Ibs. quotations. 

1 From John Bigelow, "The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin," 
Vol. X, p. 267. ED. 


As Mr. Caslon has different long primers, picas, etc., 
I beg of your judgment to choose and order the best. 
To which add: 
A complete good new press. 
2 pair blankets. 

2 pair ballstocks. 

Some reglets, gutter- sticks, side-sticks, quoins, etc. 

3 pair chases, of different sizes; the biggest, demi. 
2 folio galleys, each with four shies. 

4 quarto galleys. 

A few facs, heads and tail pieces; three or four of each. 

2 doz. brass rules. 

2 good composing-sticks. 

2 kegs of ink ; one weak, the other strong. 

With such another small cargo of books and stationery 
as I desired you to send to Antigua for a beginning. 

Mesnard sails in a week or two, by whom I shall send you 
bills for 100 sterling. But desire you would immediately 
on receipt of this, bespeak the letter, etc., that we may not 
be disappointed of having them 'per first ship to New Haven 
or New York in the spring. If sent to New Haven, direct 
them to the care of Mr. Thomas Darling, merchant there. 
If no vessel to New Haven, then to New York, to the care 
of Mr. Parker, printer. 

Insure the whole. 

The furniture may be packed in the large case that contains 
the press. 

If you can persuade your press-maker to go out of his old 
road a little, I would have the ribs made not with the face 
rounding outwards, as usual, but a little hollow or rounding 
inwards from end to end ; and the cramps made of hard cast 


brass, fixed not across the ribs, but longways, so as to slide 
in the hollow face of the ribs. The reason is, that brass and 
iron work better together than iron and iron. Such a press 
never gravels ; the hollow face of the ribs keeps the oil better, 
and the cramps, bearing on a large surface, do not wear, as 
in the common method. Of this I have had many years' 

I need not desire you to agree with the workmen on the 
most reasonable terms you can; and as this affair will give 
you trouble, pray charge commission. I shall not think 
myself a whit the less obliged. 

My compliments to Mrs. Strahan, Master Billy, etc., in 
which my wife and children join with, dear sir, your most 
humble servant, B. FRANKLIN. 


1754 (P. H. S.) 


I have now serv'd you three Apprenticeships, yet, old as 
I am, I have no Inclination to quit your Service, but should 
be glad to be able to continue in it three times three Appren- 
ticeships longer. 

The first Astrologers I think, were honest Husbandmen; 
and so it seems are the last; for my Brethren Jerman and 
Moore, and myself, the only remaining Almanack makers 
of this Country, are all of that Class : Tho' in intermediate 
Times our Art has been cultivated in great Cities, and even 
in the Courts of Princes; witness History, from the Days 
of King Nebuchadnezzar I. of Babylon, to those of Queen 
James I. of England. . . . But you will ask, perhaps, 
how I prove that the first Astrologers were Countrymen ? . . . 


I own this is a Matter beyond the Memory of History, for 
Astrology was before Letters ; but I prove it from the Book 
of the Heavens, from the Names of the twelve Signs, which 
were mostly given to remark some Circumstance relative 
to rural Affairs, in the several successive Months of the 
Year, and by that Means to supply the Want of Almanacks. 
. . . Thus, as the Year of the Ancients began most naturally 
with the Spring, Aries and Taurus, that is, the Ram and the 
Bull, represented the successive Addition to their Flocks of 
Sheep and Kine, by their Produce in that Season, Lambs 
and Calves. . . . Gemini were originally the Kids, but 
called the Twins, as Goats more commonly bring forth 
two than one: These follow'd the Calves. . . . Cancer, 
the Crab, came next, when that Kind of Fish were in Season. 
. . . Then follow'd Leo, the Lion, and Virgo, the Wench, 
to mark the Summer Months, and Dog-days, when those 
Creatures were most mischievous. In Autumn comes first 
Libra the Ballance, to point out the Time for weighing and 
selling the Summer's Produce ; or rather, a Time of Leisure 
for holding Courts of Justice in which they might plague 
themselves and Neighbours; I know some suppose this 
Sign to signify the equal Poise, at that Time, of Day and 
Night; but the other Signification is the truer, as plainly 
appears by the following Sign Scorpio, or the Scorpion, 
with the Sting in his Tail, which certainly denotes the paying 
of Costs. . . . Then follows Sagittary, the Archer, to show 
the Season of Hunting ; for now the Leaves being off the Trees 
and Bushes, the Game might be more easily seen and struck 
with their Arrows. ... The Goat accompanies the short 
Days and long Nights of Winter, to shew the Season of Mirth, 
Feasting and Jollity; for what can Capricorn mean, but 

1753] TO THOMAS CLAP 169 

Dancing or Cutting of Capers? ... At length comes 
Aquarius, or the Water-bearer, to show the Season of Snows, 
Rains and Floods ; and lastly Pisces, or the two Shads, to 
denote the approaching Return of those Fish up the Rivers : 
Make your Wears, hawl your Seins; Catch 'em and pickle 
'em, my Friends; they are excellent Relishars of old Cyder. 
. . . But if you can't get Shad, Mackrell may do better. 

I know, gentle Readers, that many of you always expect 
a Preface, and think yourselves slighted if that's omitted. 
So here you have it, and much good may 't do ye. As little 
as it is to the Purpose, there are many less so, now- a- days. 
... I have left out, you see, all the usual Stuff about the 
Importunity of Friends, and the like, or I might have made 
it much bigger. You think, however, that 'tis big enough 
for any Matter of Good that's in it ; ... I think so too, if it 
fills the Page, which is the Needful at present, 

Your loving Friend to serve, 


166. TO THOMAS CLAP 1 (Y.) 

DEAR SIR, Philad>, Nov. 8, 1753. 

The first Intimation I find of the new Air- Pump is in a 
Piece of Mr. Watson's read to the Royal Society, February 
20th, 1752, where, describing some Experiments he made 
in vacuo, he says; "The more compleat the Vacuum, cateris 
paribus, the more considerable were the Effects; and here 
I should not do Justice to real Merit, were I silent in regard 
to Mr. Smeaton. This Gentleman, with a Genius truly 
mechanical, which enables him to give to such Philosophical 

1 Thomas Clap (1703-1767), President of Yale College. ED. 


Instruments, as he executes, a degree of Perfection scarce to 
be found elsewhere ; this Gentleman, I say, has constructed 
an Air-pump, by which we are impower'd to make Boyle's 
Vacuum much more perfect than heretofore. By a well 
conducted Experiment, which admits of no doubt as to 
its Truth, I have seen by this Pump the Air rarefied to one 
thousand Times its natural State; whereas, commonly, 
we seldom arrive at above one hundred and fifty. As the 
promotion of the mechanic Arts is a considerable object 
of our excellent Institution, if this Gentleman could be pre- 
vailed upon to communicate to the Royal Society that par- 
ticular Construction of his Air-pump, which enables it to 
execute so much more than those commonly in use, it would 
not fail to be an acceptable Present." 

So far Mr. Watson. In April following, was read a Letter 
from Mr. Smeaton, in which he describes his Improvement, 
and gives a draft of his pump; the whole too long to trans- 
cribe; but it appears to me, that the Machine, being rather 
simply'd than made more complex, can scarce cost more 
than one of the old Sort, though the Price is not mentioned. 
By only turning a Cock it is at pleasure made a Condensing 
Engine; an Advantage the others have not. 

I have seen nothing of your Searchers. Mr. Parker has 
received Bower, but writes me, that he is at Loss how to send 
it, and desires you would order somebody to call for it. 

I shall send the dollars for Mr. Mix per next post ; for I 
fancy you will not now buy this Apparatus here, but choose 
the new Air- Pump from England. 

With my respects to all friends, I am, 

Dear Sir, 
Your obliged humble servant, 




Philadelphia, Nov. 23, 1753. 


In my last, via Virginia, I promised to send you per next 
ship, a small philosophical pacquet : But now having got the 
materials (old letters and rough drafts) before me, I fear 
you will find it a great one. Nevertheless, as I am like to 
have a few days leisure before this ship sails, which I may 
not have again in a long time, I shall transcribe the whole, 
and send it ; for you will be under no necessity of reading it 
all at once, but may take it a little at a time, now and then 
of a winter evening. When you happen to have nothing 
else to do (if that ever happens,) it may afford you some 
amusement. B. F[RANKLIN]. 

1 68. Proposal oj an Experiment to measure the Time taken 
up by an Electric Spark in moving through any given 
Space. By James Alexander, of New York. 2 


IF I remember right, the Royal Society made one experi- 
ment to discover the velocity of the electric fire, by a wire 
of about four miles in length, supported by silk, and by 

1 The " philosophical packet " contained a scientific correspondence with 
James Alexander, Jonathan Todd, Jared Eliot, and Cadwallader Golden. Por- 
tions of its contents were at different times in 1756 read before the Royal 
Society by Mr. Collinson. It is not possible to determine the exact date of 
their composition. ED. 

2 "From Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, 
p. 280. ED. "These Letters and Papers are a Philosophical Correspondence 
between Mr. Franklin and some of his American Friends. Mr. Collinson 


turning it forwards and backwards in a field, so that the be- 
ginning and end of the wire were at only the distance of two 
people, the one holding the Leyden bottle and the beginning 
of the wire, and the other holding the end of the wire and 
touching the ring of the bottle; but by this experiment no 
discovery was made, except that the velocity was extremely 

As water is a conductor as well as metals, it is to be consid- 
ered whether the velocity of the electric fire might not be 
discovered by means of water; whether a river, or lake, or 
sea, may not be made part of the circuit through which the 
electric fire passes? instead of the circuit all of wire, as in 
the above experiment. 

Whether in a river, lake, or sea, the electric fire will not 
dissipate and not return to the bottle? or, will it proceed in 
straight lines through the water the shortest course possible 
back to the bottle? 

If the last, then suppose one brook that falls into Delaware 
doth head very near to a brook that falls into Schuylkill, 
and let a wire be stretched and supported as before, from 
the head of the one brook to the head of the other, and let 
the one end communicate with the water, and let one person 

communicated them to the Royal Society, where they were read at different 
meetings during the year 1756. But Mr. Franklin having particularly re- 
quested that they might not be printed, none of them were inserted in the 
Transactions. Mr. F. had at that time an intention of revising them, and pur- 
suing some of the enquiries farther ; but finding that he is not like to have 
sufficient leisure, he has at length been induced, imperfect as they are, to 
permit their publication, as some of the hints they contain may possibly be use- 
ful to others in their philosophical researches." Note in " Experiments and 
Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, p. 165. The note refers to this 
article, Franklin's reply, and the " Physical and Meteorological Observations." 


stand in the other brook, holding the Leyden bottle, and 
let another person hold that end of the wire not in the water, 
and touch the ring of the bottle. If the electric fire will go 
as in the last question, then will it go down the one brook to 
Delaware or Schuylkill, and down one of them to their meet- 
ing, and up the other and the other brook; the time of its 
doing this may possibly be observable, and the further 
upwards the brooks are chosen, the more observable it 
would be. 

Should this be not observable, then suppose the two brooks 
falling into Sasquehana and Delaware, and proceeding as 
before, the electric fire may, by that means, make a circuit 
round the North Cape of Virginia, and go many hundreds 
of miles, and in doing that, it would seem, it must take 
some observable time. 

If still no observable time is found in that experiment, 
then suppose the brooks falling the one into the Ohio, and 
the other into Sasquehana or Potomack; in that the electric 
fire would have a circuit of some thousands of miles to go 
down Ohio to Missisippi, to the Bay of Mexico, round 
Florida, and round the South Cape of Virginia; which, I 
think, would give some observable time, and discover exactly 
the velocity. 

But if the electric fire dissipates or weakens in the water, 
as I fear it does, these experiments will not answer. 

Answer to the Foregoing; by B. F. 1 

SUPPOSE a tube of any length open at both ends, and 
containing a moveable wire of just the same length, that 

1 Read at the Royal Society, Dec. 23, 1756. ED. 


fills its bore. If I attempt to introduce the end of another 
wire into the same tube, it must be done by pushing forward 
the wire it already contains; and the instant I press and 
move one end of that wire, the other end is also moved ; and 
in introducing one inch of the same wire, I extrude, at the 
same time, an inch of the first, from the other end of the 

If the tube be filled with water, and I inject an additional 
inch of water at one end, I force out an equal quantity at 
the other, in the very same instant. 

And the water forced out at one end of the tube is not the 
very same water that was forced in at the other end at the 
same time, it was only in motion at the same time. 

The long wire made use of in the experiment to discover 
the velocity of the electric fluid, is itself filled with what we 
call its natural quantity of that fluid, before the hook of the 
Leyden bottle is applied to one end of it. 

The outside of the bottle being at the time of such appli- 
cation, in contact with the other end of the wire ; the whole 
quantity of electric fluid contained in the wire is, probably, 
put in motion at once. 

For at the instant the hook, connected with the inside of 
the bottle gives out; the coating, or outside of the bottle, 
draws in a portion of that fluid. 

If such long wire contains precisely the quantity that the 
outside of the bottle demands, the whole will move out of the 
wire to the outside of the bottle, and the over quantity which 
the inside of the bottle contained, being exactly equal, will 
flow into the wire, and remain there in the place of the quan- 
tity the wire had just parted with to the outside of the bottle. 

But if the wire be so long as that one tenth (suppose) 


of its natural quantity is sufficient to supply what the outside 
of the bottle demands, in such case the outside will only 
receive what is contained in one tenth of the wire's length, 
from the end next to it; though the whole will move so as 
to make room at the other end for an equal quantity issuing, 
at the same time, from the inside of the bottle. 

So that this experiment only shews the extream facility 
with which the electric fluid moves in metal; it can never 
determine the velocity. 

And, therefore, the proposed experiment (though well 
imagined and very ingenious) of sending the spark round 
through a vast length of space, by the waters of Susquehannah 
or Potowmack, and Ohio, would not afford the satisfaction 
desired, though we could be sure that the motion of the 
electric fluid would be in that tract, and not under ground 

in the wet earth by the shortest way. 


TIONS l (A. P. s.) 

THE Particles of Air are kept at a Distance from each 
other by their mutual Repulsion. 

Every three Particles, mutually and equally repelling 
each other, must form an equilateral Triangle. 

All the Particles of Air gravitate towards the Earth, which 

1 The date of this paper is uncertain. It was sent to Mr. Collinson, with 
other philosophical papers, and a letter dated November 23d, 1753. It was 
read at the Royal Society, June 3, 1756. A draft of it is in the Library of 
Congress. It is here printed from the original in The American Philosophical 
Society. ED. 


Gravitation compresses them, and shortens the Sides of 
the Triangles ; otherwise their mutual Repellency would force 
them to greater Distances from each other. 

Whatever Particles of other Matter (not endued with 
that Repellency) are supported in Air, must adhere to the 
Particles of Air, and be supported by them: for in the 
Vacancies there is nothing they can rest on. 

Air and Water mutually attract each other. Hence 
Water will dissolve in Air as Salt in Water. 

The Specific Gravity of Matter is not altered by dividing 
the Matter, tho' the Superficies be increased. Sixteen leaden 
Bullets, of an Ounce each, weigh as much in Water as one 
of a Pound, whose Superficies is less. 

Therefore the Supporting of Salt in Water is not owing 
to its Superficies being encreas'd. 

A Lump of Salt, tho' laid at rest at the Bottom of a Vessel 
of Water, will dissolve therein, and its Parts move every 
Way, till equally diffus'd in the Water; therefore there is 
a mutual Attraction between Water and Salt. Every Par- 
ticle of Water assumes as many of Salt as can adhere to it; 
when more is added, it precipitates, and will not remain 

Water, in the same Manner, will dissolve in Air, every 
Particle of Air assuming one or more Particles of Water. 
When too much is added, it precipitates in Rain. 

But there not being the same Contiguity between the 
Particles of Air as of Water, the Solution of Water in Air 
is not carried on without a Motion of the Air, so as to cause 
a fresh Accession of dry Particles. 

Part of a Fluid having more of what it dissolves, will 
communicate to other Parts that have less. Thus very salt 


Water, coming in contact with fresh, communicates its Salt- 
ness till all is equal, and the sooner if there is a little Motion 
of the Water. 

Even Earth will dissolve or mix with Air. A Stroke of 
a Horse's Hoof on the Ground in a hot dusty Road, will 
raise a Cloud of Dust that shall, if there be a light Breeze, 
expand every way, till, perhaps, near as big as a common 
House. 'Tis not by mechanical Motion communicated to 
the Particles of Dust by the Hoof that they fly so far, nor by 
the Wind that they spread so wide; but the Air near the 
Ground, more heated by the hot Dust struck into it, is rare- 
fied and rises, and in rising mixes with the cooler Air, and 
communicates of its Dust to it, and it is at length so diffused 
as to become invisible. Quantities of Dust are thus car- 
ried up in dry Seasons : Showers wash it from the Air, and 
bring it down again. For Water attracting it stronger, it 
quits the Air, and adheres to the Water. 

Air, suffering continual Changes in the Degrees of its 
Heat, from various Causes and Circumstances, and, con- 
sequently, Changes in its Specific Gravity, must therefore 
be in continual Motion. . 

A small Quantity of Fire mix'd with Water (or Degree of 
Heat therein) so weakens the Cohesion of its Particles that 
those on the Surface easily quit it, and adhere to the Par- 
ticles of Air. 

A greater Degree of Heat is required to break the Co- 
hesion between Water and Air. 

Air moderately heated will support a greater Quantity 
of Water invisibly than cold Air; for its Particles being by 
Heat repelFd to a greater Distance from each other, thereby 
more easily keep the Particles of Water that are annexed 

VOL. Ill N 


to them from running into Cohesions that would obstruct, 
refract, or reflect the Light. 

Hence, when we breathe in warm Air, tho j the same 
Quantity of Moisture may be taken up from the Lungs, as 
when we breathe in cold Air, yet that Moisture is not so 

Water being extreamly heated, i.e. to the degree of Boil- 
ing, its Particles in quitting it so repel each other, as to take 
up vastly more Space than before, and by that Repellency 
support themselves, expelling the Air from the Space they 
occupy. That Degree of Heat being lessened, they again 
mutually attract; and having no Air Particles mixed to ad- 
here to, by which they might be supported and kept at a 
Distance, they instantly fall, coalesce, and become Water 

The Water commonly diffused in our atmosphere never 
receives such a Degree of Heat from the Sun, or other Cause, 
as Water has when boiling; it is not therefore supported 
by such Heat, but by adhering to Air. 

Water being dissolv'd in, and adhering to Air, that Air 
will not readily take up Oil, because of the natural Repel- 
lency between Water and Oil. 

Hence cold Oils evaporate but slowly, the Air having 
generally a Quantity of dissolv'd Water. 

Oil being heated extreamly, the Air that approaches its 
Surface will be also heated extreamly; the Water then 
quitting it, it will attract and carry off Oil, which can now 
adhere to it. Hence the quick Evaporation of Oil heated 
to a great degree. 

Oil being dissolv'd in Air, the Particles to which it ad- 
heres will not take up Water. 


Hence the suffocating Nature of Air impregnated with 
burnt Grease, as from Snuffs of Candles and the like. A 
certain Quantity of Moisture should be every Moment 
discharged and taken away from the Lungs: Air that has 
been frequently breath'd, is already overloaded, and, for 
that Reason, can take no more, so will not answer the End. 
Greasy Air refuses to touch it. In both cases Suffocation 
for want of the Discharge. 

Air will attract and support many other Substances. 

A Particle of Air loaded with adhering Water, or any 
other Matter, is heavier than before, and would descend. 

The Atmosphere supposed at rest, a loaded descending 
Particle must act with a Force on the Particles it passes 
between, or meets with, sufficient to overcome, in some 
degree, their mutual Repellency, and push them nearer 
to each other. 

Thus, supposing the Particles A, A 

B, C, D, and the other near them, to O O O 
be at the Distance caus'd by their F B c G 
mutual Repellency (confin'd by their O O O O 
common Gravity), if A would de- 
scend to E, it must pass between B O O O 
and C; when it comes between B and D 

C, it will be nearer to them than before, O O O O 
and must either have push'd them E 
nearer to F and G, contrary to their mutual Repellency, or 
pass through by a Force exceeding its Repellency with them. 
It then approaches Z>, and, to move it out of the way, must 
act on it with a Force sufficient to overcome its Repellency 
with the two next lower Particles, by which it is kept in its 
present Situation. 


Every Particle of Air, therefore, will bear any Load in- 
ferior to the Force of these Repulsions. 

Hence the Support of Fogs, Mists, Clouds. 

Very warm Air, clear tho' supporting a very great Quan- 
tity of Moisture, will grow turbid and cloudy on the Mixture 
of a colder Air: As foggy, turbid Air will grow clear by 

Thus the Sun, shining on a morning Fog, dissipates it; 
Clouds are seen to waste in a sunshiny Day. 

But Cold condenses and renders visible the Vapour; a 
Tankard or Decanter filFd with cold Water will condense 
the Moisture of warm, clear Air on its Outside, where it 
becomes visible as Dew, coalesces into Drops, descends in 
little Streams. 

The Sun heats the Air of our Atmosphere most near the 
Surface of the Earth; for there, besides the direct Rays, 
there are many Reflections. Moreover the Earth, itself 
being heated, communicates of its Heat to the neighbouring 

The higher Regions, having only the direct Rays of the 
Sun passing thro* them, are comparatively very cold. 
Hence the cold Air on the Tops of Mountains, and Snow 
on some of them all the Year, even in the torrid Zone. 
Hence Hail in Summer. 

If the Atmosphere were all of it (both above and below) 
always of the same Temper as to cold or heat, then the 
upper Air would always be rarer than the lower, because 
the Pressure on it is less; consequently lighter, and there- 
fore would keep its Place. 

But the upper Air may be more condensed by cold, than 
the lower Air by Pressure; the lower more expanded by 


Heat than the upper, for Want of Pressure. In such case 
the upper Air will become the heavier, the lower the lighter. 

The lower Region of Air being heated and expanded 
heaves up, and supports for some time the colder, heavier 
Air above, and will continue to support it while the Equilib- 
rium is kept. Thus Water is supported in an inverted open 
Glass, while the Equilibrium is maintained by the equal 
Pressure upwards of the Air below; but the Equilibrium 
by any Means breaking, the Water descends on the heavier 
Side, and the Air rises into its Place. 

The lifted heavy, cold Air over a heated Country, be- 
coming by any Means unequally supported, or unequal in 
its Weight, the heaviest Part descends first, and the Rest 
follows impetuously. Hence Gusts after Heats, and Hurri- 
canes in hot Climates. Hence the Air of Gusts and Hurri- 
canes cold, tho' in hot Climes and Seasons ; it coming from 

The cold Air descending from above, as it penetrates 
our warm Region full of watery Particles, condenses them, 
renders them visible, forms a Cloud thick and dark, over- 
casting sometimes, at once, large and extensive; sometimes, 
when seen at a Distance, small at first, gradually increasing; 
the cold Edge or Surface of the Cloud condensing the 
Vapours next it, which form smaller Clouds that join it, in- 
crease its Bulk, it descends with the Wind and its acquired 
Weight, draws nearer the Earth, grows denser with con- 
tinual additions of Water, and discharges heavy Showers. 

Small black Clouds thus appearing in a clear Sky, in hot 
Climates, portend Storms, and warn Seamen to hand their 

The Earth turning on its Axis in about twenty-four hours, 


the equatorial Parts must move about fifteen Miles in each 
Minute; in Northern and Southern Latitudes this Motion 
is gradually less to the Poles, and there nothing. 

If there was a general Calm over the Face of the Globe, 
it must be by the Air's moving in every Part as fast as the 
Earth or Sea it covers. 

He that sails, or rides, has insensibly the same Degree 
of Motion as the Ship or Coach with which he is connected. 
If the Ship strikes the Shore, or the Coach stops suddenly, 
the Motion continuing in the Man, he is thrown forward. 
If a Man were to jump from the Land into a swift-sailing 
Ship, he would be thrown backward (or towards the Stern) 
not having at first the Motion of the Ship. 

He that travels by Sea or Land towards the Equinoctial, 
gradually acquires Motion ; from it, loses. 

But if a Man were taken up from Latitude 40 (where 
suppose the Earth's Surface to move twelve Miles per 
Minute) and immediately set down at the Equinoctial, 
without changing the Motion he had, his Heels would be 
struck up, he would fall Westward. If taken up from the 
Equinoctial and set down in Latitude 40, he would fall 

The Air under the Equator, and between the Tropics, 
being constantly heated and rarefied by the Sun, rises. Its 
Place is supplied by Air from Northern and Southern Lati- 
tudes, which, coming from Parts where the Earth and Air 
had less Motion, and not suddenly acquiring the quicker 
Motion of the equatorial Earth, 1 appears an East Wind 

1 See a paper on this subject, by the late ingenious Mr. Hadley, in The 
Philosophical Transactions, wherein this hypothesis for explaining the trade- 
winds first appeared. F. 


blowing westward; the Earth moving from West to East, 
and slipping under the Air. 

Thus, when we ride in a Calm it seems a Wind against 
us ; if we ride with the Wind, and faster, even that will seem 
a small Wind against us. 

The Air rarefied between the Tropics, and rising, must 
flow in the higher Region North and South. Before it rose, 
it had acquired the greatest Motion the Earth's Rotation 
could give it. It retains some Degree of this Motion, and 
descending in higher Latitudes, where the Earth's Motion 
is less, will appear a Westerly Wind, yet tending towards 
the equatorial Parts, to supply the Vacancy occasioned by 
the Air of the lower Regions flowing thitherwards. 

Hence our general cold Winds are about Northwest; our 
Summer cold Gusts the same. 

The Air in sultry Weather, tho' not cloudy, has a kind 
of Haziness in it, which makes Objects at a Distance appear 
dull and indistinct. This Haziness is occasioned by the great 
Quantity of Moisture equally diffused in that Air. When 
by the cold Wind blowing down among it, it is condensed 
into Clouds, and falls in Rain, the Air becomes purer and 
clearer. Hence, after Gusts, distant Objects appear distinct, 
their Figures sharply terminated. 

Extream cold Winds congeal the Surface of the Earth, by 
carrying off its Fire. Warm Winds, afterwards blowing over 
that frozen Surface, will be chill'd by it. Could that frozen 
Surface be turned under, and a warmer turned up from be- 
neath it, those warm Winds would not be chilled so much. 

The Surface of the Earth is also sometimes much heated 
by the Sun; and such heated Surface, not being changed, 
Heats the Air that moves over it. 


Seas, Lakes, and great Bodies of Water, agitated by the 
Winds, continually change Surfaces; the cold Surface in 
Winter is turned under by the Rolling of the Waves, and a 
warmer turned up; in Summer, the warm is turned under, 
and colder turned up. Hence the more equal Temper of 
Sea Water, and the Air over it. Hence, in Winter, Winds 
from the Sea seem warm, Winds from the Land cold. In 
Summer, the contrary. 

Therefore the Lakes northwest of us, 1 as they are not so 
much frozen nor so apt to freeze as the Earth, rather 
moderate than increase the Coldness of our Winter Winds. 

The Air over the Sea, being warmer, and therefore lighter 
in Winter than the Air over the frozen Land, may be another 
Cause of our general Northwest Winds, which blow off to 
Sea at right Angles from our North American Coast; the 
warm, light sea Air rising, the heavy, cold land Air pressing 
into its Place. 

Heavy Fluids, descending, frequently form Eddies or 
Whirlpools, as is seen in a Funnel, where the Water acquires 
a circular Motion, receding every Way from a Center, and 
leaving a Vacancy in the middle, greatest above, and less- 
ening downwards, like a speaking Trumpet, its big End 

Air descending or ascending may form the same kind of 
Eddies or Whirlings, the Parts of Air acquiring a circular 
Motion, and receding from the Middle of the Circle by a 
centrifugal Force, and leaving there a Vacancy ; if descend- 
ing, greatest above, and lessening downwards; if ascend- 
ing, greatest below, and lessening upwards, like a Speaking- 
Trumpet, standing its big End on the Ground. 

1 In Pensylvania. F. 


When the Air descends with Violence in some Places, it 
may rise with equal Violence in others, and form both kinds 
of Whirlwinds. 

The Air, in its whirling Motion receding every Way from 
the Center or Axis of the Trumpet, leaves there a Vacuum, 
which cannot be filled through the Sides, the whirling Air, 
as an Arch, preventing; it must then press in at the open 

The greatest Pressure inwards must be at the lower End, 
the greatest Weight of the surrounding Atmosphere being 
there. The Air entering rises within, and carries up Dust, 
Leaves, and even heavier Bodies, that happen in its Way, 
as the Eddy or Whirl passes over Land. 

If it passes over Water, the Weight of the surrounding 
Atmosphere forces up the Water into the Vacuity, part of 
which, by Degrees, joins with the whirling Air, and adding 
Weight, and receiving accelerated Motion, recedes still 
farther from the Center or Axis of the Trump, as the Press- 
ure lessens, and at last, as the Trump widens, is broken 
into small Particles, and so united with Air as to be sup- 
ported by it, and become black Clouds at the Top of the 

Thus these Eddies may be Whirlwinds at Land, Water- 
Spouts at Sea. A Body of Water so raised, may be suddenly 
let fall, when the Motion, &c. has not Strength to support 
it, or the whirling Arch is broken so as to admit the Air; 
falling in the Sea, it is harmless, unless Ships happen under 
it; but, if in the progressive Motion of the Whirl, it has 
mov'd from the sea over the Land, and then breaks, sudden, 
violent, and mischievous Torrents are the Consequences. 




I AGREE with you, that it seems absurd to suppose that a 
Body can act where it is not. I have no Idea of Bodies at a 
Distance attracting or repelling one another without the 
Assistance of some Medium, tho' I know not what that 
Medium is, or how it operates. When I speak of Attraction 
or Repulsion, I make use of those Words for want of others 
more proper, and intend only to express Effects which I see, 
and not Causes of which I am ignorant. When I press a 
blown Bladder between my Knees, I find I cannot bring its 
Sides together, but my Knees feel a springy Matter, pushing 
them back to a greater Distance, or repelling them. I con- 
clude that the Air it contains is the Cause. And when I 
operate on the Air, and find I cannot by Pressure force its 
Particles into Contact, but they still spring back against 
the Pressure, I conceive there must be some Medium between 
its Particles that prevents their Closing, tho' I cannot tell 
what it is. And if I were acquainted with that Medium, 
and found its Particles to approach and recede from each 
other according to the Pressure they suffered, I should 
imagine there must be some finer Medium between them, 
by which these Operations were performed. 

I allow that increase of the Surface of a Body may occa- 
sion it to descend slower in Air, Water, or any other Fluid ; 
but do not conceive, therefore, that it lessens its Weight. 
Where the increas'd Surface is so dispos'd as that in its fall- 
ing, a greater Quantity of the Fluid it sinks in must be 

1 Written in reply to Cadwallader Golden, November 19, 1753, and read at 
the Royal Society, November 4, 1756. Printed from the rough draft in A. P. S. 


moved out of its Way, a greater Time is required for such 
Removal. Four square Feet of Sheet-Lead Sinking in 
Water broadways, cannot descend near so fast as it would 
edgeways, yet its Weight in the Hydrostatic Ballance, would 
I imagine be the same, whether suspended by the Middle 
or by a Corner. 

I make no doubt but that Ridges of high Mountains 
do often interrupt, stop, reverberate, or turn the Winds 
that blow against them, according to the different degrees 
of Strength of the Winds, and the Angles of Incidence. I 
suppose too, that the cold upper Parts of Mountains may 
condense the warmer Air that comes near them, and so by 
making it specifically heavier, cause it to descend on one 
or both sides of the Ridge into the warmer Valleys, which 
will seem a Wind blowing from the Mountain. 

Damp Winds, tho' not colder by the Thermometer, give 
a more uneasy sensation of Cold, than dry ones. Because 
(to speak like an Electrician) they conduct better, that is, 
are better fitted to convey away the Heat from our Bodies: 
The Body cannot feel without itself; our Sensation of Cold 
is not in the Air without the Body, but in those Parts of the 
Body which have been depriv'd of their Heat by the Air. 
My Desk and its Lock are, I suppose, of the same tempera- 
ment when they have long been expos'd to the same Air; 
but now, if I lay my Hand on the Wood, it does not seem 
so cold to me as the Lock; because (as I imagine) Wood 
is not so good a Conductor, to receive and convey away the 
Heat from my Skin and the adjacent Flesh, as Metal is. 
Take a Piece of Wood of the Size and Shape of a Dollar 
between the Thumb and Fingers of one Hand, and a 
Dollar in like manner with the other Hand; place the 


Edges of both, at the same time, in the Flame of a Candle ; 
and tho' the Edge of the wooden Piece takes Flame, and 
the metal Piece does not, yet you will be obliged to drop the 
latter before the former, it conducting the Heat more suddenly 
to your Fingers. Thus we can, without Pain handle Glass 
and China Cups filled with hot Liquors, as Tea, &c., but 
not silver ones. A Silver Tea-pot must have a wooden 
Handle. Perhaps it is for the same Reason, that woollen 
Garments keep the Body warmer than Linen ones equally 
thick; Woollen keeping the Natural Heat in, or, in other 
Words, not conducting it out to the Air. 

In regard to Water-spouts, having in a long Letter to a 
Gentleman of the same Sentiment with you as to their 
Direction said all that I have to say in support of my 
Opinion, I need not repeat the Arguments therein con- 
tain^, as I intend to send you a Copy of it by some other 
Opportunity, for your Perusal. I imagine you will find all 
the Appearances you saw, accounted for by my Hypothesis. 
I thank you for communicating the Account of them. At 
present I would only say, that the Opinion of Winds being 
generated in Clouds by Fermentation, is new to me, and I 
am unacquainted with the Facts on which it is founded. 
I likewise find it difficult to conceive of Winds confin'd in 
the Bodys of Clouds, which I imagine have little more solid- 
ity than the Fogs on the Earth's Surface. The Objection 
from the Freshness of Rain- Water is a strong one, but I 
think I have answered it in the Letter above mentioned, to 
which I must beg Leave at present to refer you. 



Philadelphia, November 27. 1753. 


Having written to you fully, ma Bristol, I have now little 
to add. Matters relating to the Academy remain in statu 
quo. The trustees would be glad to see a rector established 
there, but they dread entering into new engagements till 
they are got out of debt ; and I have not yet got them wholly 
over to my opinion, that a good professor, or teacher of the 
higher branches of learning, would draw so many scholars 
as to pay great part, if not the whole of his salary. Thus, 
unless the Proprietors of the province shall think fit to put 
the finishing hand to our institution, it must, I fear, wait 
some few years longer, before it can arrive at that state of 
perfection, which to me it seems now capable of; and all 
the pleasure I promised myself in seeing you settled among 
us vanishes into smoke. 

But good Mr. Collinson writes me word, that no en- 
deavours of his shall be wanting; and he hopes, with the 
Archbishop's assistance, to be able to prevail with our Pro- 
prietors. I pray God grant them success. My son pre- 
sents his affectionate regards, with, dear Sir, yours, &c. 


1 From " Life and Correspondence of the Rev. William Smith, D.D.," by 
H. W. Smith, Philadelphia, 1879, Vol. I, p. 28. 



Philadelphia, December 6, 1753. 


I received your favour of the igth past, with some remarks 
on my meteorological paper, for which I thank you and 
return some observations on those remarks, hoping by this 
friendly intercourse of sentiments and objections some ad- 
vantage will arise, to the increase of true knowledge. 

I sent you our treaty some time since. You will find 
very little in it ; but I have hopes it will introduce a regula- 
tion of our Indian trade, by the government taking it in 
hand, and furnishing the Indians with goods at the cheap- 
est rate without aiming at profit, as is done by Massachu- 
setts; by which means I think we must vastly undersell the 
French, and thereby attach the Indians more firmly to the 
British interest. 

Mr. Collinson certainly received your answer to Kastner. 
I think one of his letters to me mentions it. 

I send you herewith a copy of my paper on the Increase 
of Mankind; the only one I have, so must request you to 
return it. That on the Air, &c., is what you have already 
seen. The third mentioned to you by Mr. Collinson, con- 
cerning the Germans, is scarcely worth sending. It will 
contain nothing new to you. 2 

I congratulate you on Lord Halifax's approbation of your 
conduct in public affairs. From such a man the honour 
is great, and the satisfaction; but the approbation of your 

1 First printed by Sparks. 2 See letter to R. Jackson, p. 139. ED. 

1753] TO JAMES BOW DO IN 191 

own mind is something more valuable in itself, and it is what 
I doubt not you will always enjoy. 

I should like to see Pike's book * some time or other, 
when you can conveniently send it. With great respect 
and esteem, I am, Sir, &c. 



Philadelphia, December 13, 1753. 


I received your favour of the i2th ultimo, with the law of 
your province for regulating the Indian trade, for which I 
thank you, and for the remarks that accompany it, which 
clearly evince the usefulness of the law, and I hope will be 
sufficient to induce our Assembly to follow your example. 

I have yet received no particulars of the unhappy gentle- 
man's death at Petersburg, (whose fate I lament.) One 
of the papers says, that all the letters from thence confirm 
the account, and mentions his name, (Professor Richmann,) 
but nothing farther. No doubt we shall have a minute 
account of the accident with all its circumstances, in some 
of the magazines or the Transactions of the Royal Society. 3 

1 " Philosophia Sacra ; or the Principles of Natural Philosophy, extracted 
from Divine Revelation. By SAMUEL PIKE." The author attempts to estab- 
lish and explain a system of philosophy, accounting for the motions of the 
heavenly bodies, and the operations of nature, by quotations from the Scrip- 
tures. In an Appendix he remarks on the philosophical principles of Mr. 
Golden, as laid down in his treatise on Gravitation. S. 

2 First printed by Sparks. 

8 Professor Richmann was killed at St. Petersburg, July 26, 1753, while 
repeating Franklin's experiment for bringing electricity from the clouds. He 
received r. chock, which caused instantaneous death. A full account of the 
circumstances attending his death is contained in The Philosophical Transac- 
tions, Vol. XLVIII, p. 765 ; and Vol. XLIX, p. 61. ED. 


The observation you made of the sea water emitting more 
and less light in different tracts passed through by your 
boat is new ; and your manner of accounting for it ingenious. 
It is indeed very possible, that an extremely small animal- 
cule, too small to be visible even by the best glasses, may yet 
give a visible light. I remember to have taken notice, in a 
drop of kennel water, magnified by the solar microscope 
to the bigness of a cart-wheel, there were numbers of visible 
animalcules of various sizes swimming about; but I was 
sure there were likewise some which I could not see, even 
with that magnifier; for the wake they made in swimming 
to and fro was very visible, though the body that made it was 
not so. Now, if I could see the wake of an invisible animal- 
cule, I imagine I might much more easily see its light if it 
were of the luminous kind. For how small is the extent of 
a ship's wake, compared with that of the light of her lantern. 

My barometer will not show the luminous appearance 
by agitating the mercury in the dark, but I think yours does. 
Please to try whether it will, when agitated, attract a fine 
thread hung near the top of the tube. 

As to the answer to Nollet, if I were going on with it, I 
should be extremely glad of your peeping into it (as you say) 
now and then, that I might correct it by your advice. The 
materials in short hints have been long collected and method- 
ized; they only want to be clothed with expression. But 
soon after my return from New England, I received the 
enclosed from Monsieur Dalibard, wherein he tells me 
that he is preparing an answer, not only to the Abbe*, but to 
some others that have wrote against my doctrine, which will 
be published the beginning of this winter. This, with a 
good deal of business, and a little natural indolence, has 


made me neglect finishing my answer, till I shall see what 
is done by him. Perhaps it may then appear unnecessary 
for me to do any thing farther in it. And will not one's 
vanity be more gratified in seeing one's adversary confuted 
by a disciple, than even by one's self ? I am, however, a 
little concerned for Dalibard, when I find by his letter, that 
he has been so far imposed on by the Abbe*'s confident asser- 
tion that a charged bottle placed on an electric per se loses 
its electricity, as to attempt to account for it, when the thing 
is absolutely not fact. I have in answer wrote him my sen- 
timents on that and some other particulars of the Abbess 
book, which I hope will get to hand before his answer is 

I am, with the greatest esteem and regard, 
Dear Sir, your most obliged humble servant, 



[Philadelphia,] April 18, 1754. 


Since September last, having been abroad on two long 
journeys, and otherwise much engag'd, I have made but 
few observations on the positive and negative state of elec- 
tricity in the clouds. But Mr. Kinnersley kept his rod and 
bells in good order, and has made many. 

Once this winter the bells rang a long time during a fall 
of snow, tho' no thunder was heard, or lightning seen. 
Sometimes the flashes and cracks of the electric matter 

1 From "Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, 
p. 128. 

VOL. Ill O 


between bell and bell were so large and loud as to be heard 
all over the house: but by all his observations, the clouds 
were constantly in a negative state, till about six weeks ago, 
when he found them once to change in a few minutes from 
the negative to the positive. About a fortnight after that 
he made another observation of the same kind; and last 
Monday afternoon, the wind blowing hard at S. E. and 
veering round to N. E., with many thick, driving clouds, 
there were five or six successive changes from negative to 
positive, and from positive to negative, the bells stopping a 
minute or two between every change. Besides the methods 
mentioned in my paper of September last, of discovering 
the electrical state of the clouds, the following may be us'd. 
When your bells are ringing, pass a rubb'd tube by the edge 
of the bell, connected with your pointed rod: if the cloud 
is then in a negative state, the ringing will stop ; if in a pos- 
itive state, it will continue, and perhaps be quicker. Or, 
suspend a very small cork ball by a fine silk thread, so that 
it may hang close to the edge of the rod-bell : then whenever 
the bell is electrified, whether positively or negatively, the 
little ball will be repell'd, and continue at some distance 
from the bell. Have ready a round-headed glass stopper 
of a decanter, rub it on your side till it is electrified, then 
present it to the cork ball. If the electricity in the ball is 
positive, it will be repell'd from the glass stopper, as well as 
from the bell ; if negative, it will fly to the stopper. 



175. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 1 (P. c.) 

Philada., April 18, 1754. 

DEAR SIR : By Capt. Gibbon I received a Copy of yours 
per the Myrtylla, but she is not yet arrived. I am glad to 
hear the Bills I sent you for 100 Sterl'g are accepted, and 
that the Goods were to be shipt soon for Connecticut. Bry- 
ant is arrived at New York, who left London the Middle 
of March. I have not heard whether he has brought them. 
I now enclose you a Bill for 20 Sterling, drawn by Mrs. 
Steevens, on Alex r . Grant, Mercht., London; and what 
ballance may remain unpaid I will send as soon as I can 
know it. 

I am glad you have sent again the Things that were shipt 
in Davis. As to that Loss, give yourself no concern about 
it. It is mine, and but a Trifle. I do not know or regard 
what the Custom of Merchants may be in such Cases; but 
when I reflect how much Trouble I have given you from 
time to time in my little Affairs, that you never charg'd me 
Commissions, and have frequently been in Advance for me, 
were the Loss much greater, to be sure I should not suffer it 
to fall on you. 

Benja Mecom writes me that he has remitted you Thirty 
Pounds Sterlg, which I am much pleased to hear. And am 
glad you have not sent him the great Parcel of Books which 
you mention he has wrote for. He is a young Lad, quite 
unacquainted with the World, and, I fear, would be much 
embarrass'd if he went suddenly into Dealings too deep for 

1 From the private collection of Hon. S. W. Pennypacker. ED. 


his Stock. The People of those Islands might buy his 
Books; but I know they are very dull Pay, and he would 
find it impracticable to collect the Money when it ought to be 
sent you. Pray keep him within Bounds ; let him have good 
saleable Sortments, but small, and do not suffer him to be 
more than Fifty Pounds in your Debt, if so much ; it is best 
for him to proceed gradually, and deal more as his Stock and 
Experience increases. I am thankful to you for prudently 
delaying to send what he so indiscretely wrote for, till you had 
advis'd me of it. Our Compliments to Mrs. Strahan and 
your Children. I am, with great Esteem, Dr Sir, your 

most humble Servant, 


Please to send me the Philosophical Transactions from 
the End of Martin's Abridgment, 1744, to the present time. 
I suppose they are not abridged. Send them large as they 
come out; also Dampier's Voyages 4 vols., 8vo. 



JULY, I754 1 




To be appointed by the king. 

To be a military man. 

To have a salary from the crown. 

To have a negation on all acts of the Grand Council, and 
carry into execution whatever is agreed on by him and that 


One member to be chosen by the Assembly of each of the 
smaller colonies, and two or more by each of the larger, in 
proportion to the sums they pay yearly into the general 

shillings sterling per diem, during their sitting, and 

milage for travelling expenses. 

1 For a brief review of the historical circumstances out of which came this 
Plan of Union, see Introduction, pp. 156-157. ED. 


To meet times in every year, at the capital of each 

colony, in course, unless particular circumstances and emer- 
gencies require more frequent meetings, and alteration in the 
course of places. The governor-general to judge of those 
circumstances, &c., and call by his writs. 


Its fund, an excise on strong liquors, pretty equally drunk 

in the colonies, or duty on liquor imported, or shillings 

on each license of a public house, or excise on superfluities, 
as tea, &c. &c. All which would pay in some proportion 
to the present wealth of each colony, and increase as that 
wealth increases, and prevent disputes about the inequality 
of quotas. To be collected in each colony and lodged in 
their treasury, to be ready for the payment of orders issuing 
from the governor-general and grand council jointly. 


To order all Indian treaties. Make all Indian purchases 
not within proprietary grants. Make and support new 
settlements, by building forts, raising and paying soldiers 
to garrison the forts, defend the frontiers, and annoy the 
enemy. Equip guard- vessels to scour the coasts from priva- 
teers in time of war, and protect the trade, and every thing 
that shall be found necessary for the defence and support 
of the colonies in general, and increasing and extending 
their settlements, &c. 

For the expense, they may draw on the fund in the treasury 
of any colony. 


The scheme, being first well considered, corrected, and 
improved by the commissioners at Albany, to be sent home, 
and an act of Parliament obtained for establishing it. 1 


DEAR SIR, New York, [June] 9, 1754. 

I had some conversation with Mr. Franklin and Mr. 
Peters as to the uniting the colonies, and the difficulties 
thereof, by effecting our liberties on the one hand, or being 
ineffectual on the other. Whereon Mr. Franklin promised 
to set down some hints of a scheme that he thought might do, 
which accordingly he sent to me to be transmitted to you, 
and it is enclosed. 

To me, it seems extremely well digested, and at first sight 
avoids many difficulties that had occurred to me. 

Some difficulties still remain. For example, there cannot 
be found men tolerably well skilled in warlike affairs to be 
chosen for the grand council, and there is danger in commu- 
nicating to them the schemes to be put in execution, for fear 
of a discovery to the enemy. Whether this may not be in 
some measure remedied by a council of state, of a few 
persons to be chosen by the grand council at their stated meet- 
ings, which council of state to be always attending the gov- 

1 This paper was communicated to James Alexander, with the following 

"New York, JuneS, 1754. 

" Mr. Alexander is requested to peruse these Hints, and make remarks in 
correcting or improving the scheme, and send the paper with such remarks to 
Dr. Golden for his sentiments, who is desired to forward the whole to Albany, 
to their very humble servant, " B. FRANKLIN." 


ernor-general, and with him to digest beforehand all matters 
to be laid before the next grand council, and only the general, 
but not the particular, plans of operation. 

That the governor-general and that council of state issue 
orders for the payment of moneys, so far as the grand coun- 
cil have beforehand agreed may be issued for any general 
plan to be executed. That the governor-general and coun- 
cil of state, at every meeting of the grand council, lay before 
them their accounts and transactions since the last meeting, 
at least so much of their transactions as is safe to be made 
public. This council of state to be something like that of 
the United Provinces, and the grand council to resemble the 
States- General. 

That the capacity and ability of the persons to be chosen 
of the council of state and grand council be their only quali- 
fications, whether members of the respective bodies that 
choose them or not. That the grand council, with the gov- 
ernor-general, have power to increase, but not to decrease, 
the duties laid by act of Parliament, and have power to issue 
bills of credit on emergencies, to be sunk by the increased 
funds, bearing a small interest, but not to be tenders. I am, 
dear Sir, 

Your most obedient, 

and most humble servant, 




It seems agreed on all hands that something is necessary 
to be done for uniting the colonies in their mutual defence, 


and it seems to be likewise agreed that it can only be done 
effectually by act of Parliament. For this reason I suppose 
that the necessary funds for carrying it into execution, in 
pursuance of the ends proposed by it, cannot be otherwise 
obtained. If it were thought, that the Assemblies of the 
several colonies may agree to lay the same duties, and apply 
them to the general defence and security of all the colonies, 
no need of an act of Parliament. 

Quare; Which best for the colonies; by Parliament, or 
by the several Assemblies ? 

The King's minister, so long since as the year 1723, or 
1724, had thoughts of sending over a governor-general of all 
the colonies, and the Earl of Stair was proposed as a fit per- 
son. It is probable, the want of a suitable support of the 
dignity of that office prevented that scheme's being carried 
into execution, and that the ministry and people of England 
think that this charge ought to be borne by the colonies. 


Quare; Is the grand council, with the governor-general, 
to have a legislative authority ? If only an executive power, 
objections may be made to their being elective. It would 
be in a great measure a change of the constitution, to which 
I suspect the crown will not consent. We see the inconven- 
iences attending the present constitution, and remedies may 
be found without changing it, but we cannot foresee what 
may be the consequences of a change in it. If the grand 
council be elected for a short time, steady measures cannot 
be pursued. If elected for a long time, and not removable 
by the crown, they may become dangerous. Are they to 
have a negative on the acts of the governor-general? It is 


to be considered that England will keep their colonies, as 
far as they can, dependent on them; and this view is to be 
preserved in all schemes to which the King's consent is 


It may be thought dangerous to have fixed meetings of 
the grand council, and in all the colonies at certain times 
and places. It is a privilege which the Parliament has not, 
nor the Privy Council, and may be thought destructive of 
the constitution. 


Some estimate ought to be made of the produce which 
may be reasonably expected from the funds proposed to be 
raised by duties on liquors, &c., to see whether it will be 
sufficient for the ends proposed. This I think may be done 
from the custom-houses in the most considerable places for 
trade in the colonies. 


No doubt any private person may, in a proper manner, 
make any proposals which he thinks for the public benefit; 
but, if they are to be made by the commissioners of the sev- 
eral colonies, who now meet at Albany, it may be presumed 
that they speak the sense of their constituents. What author- 
ity have they to do this ? I know of none from either the 
Council or Assembly of New York. 

However, these things may be properly talked of in Con- 
versation among the commissioners for further information, 
and in order to induce the several Assemblies to give proper 
powers to commissioners to meet afterwards for this purpose. 1 

1 The preceding papers were first printed in the Appendix to SEDGWICK'S 



THE commissioners from a number of the northern colo- 
nies, being met at Albany, and considering the difficulties 
that have always attended the most necessary general meas- 
ures for the common defence, or for the annoyance of the 
enemy, when they were to be carried through the several 
particular Assemblies of all the colonies; some Assemblies 
being before at variance with their governors or councils, 
and the several branches of the government not on terms 
of doing business with each other; others taking the op- 
portunity, when their concurrence is wanted, to push for 
favourite laws, powers, or points, that they think could not 
at other times be obtained, and so creating disputes and 
quarrels; one Assembly waiting to see what another will 
do, being afraid of doing more than its share, or desirous 
of doing less, or refusing to do any thing because Its coun- 
try is not at present so much exposed as others, or because 
another will reap more immediate advantage ; from one or 
other of which causes, the Assemblies of six out of seven 
colonies applied to, had granted no assistance to Virginia, 
when lately invaded by the French, though purposely con- 
vened, and the importance of the occasion earnestly urged 
upon them ; considering moreover, that one principal 
encouragement to the French, in invading and insulting the 
British American dominions, was their knowledge of our 

Life of William Livingston. The manuscripts, from which they were copied, 
are contained in the archives of the NEW YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY. The 
paper containing Colden's Remarks, is in his own handwriting. S. 


disunited state, and of our weakness arising from such want 
of union; and that from hence different colonies were, at 
different times, extremely harassed, and put to great expense 
both of blood and treasure, who would have remained in 
peace, if the enemy had had cause to fear the drawing on 
themselves the resentment and power of the whole ; the 
said commissioners, considering also the present encroach- 
ments of the French, and the mischievous consequences that 
may be expected from them, if not opposed with our force, 
came to an unanimous resolution ; That a union of the colo- 
nies is absolutely necessary for their preservation. 

The manner of forming and establishing this union was 
the next point. When it was considered, that the colonies 
were seldom all in equal danger at the same time, or equally 
near the danger, or equally sensible of it ; that some of them 
had particular interests to manage, with which a union 
might interfere; and that they were extremely jealous of 
each other; it was thought impracticable to obtain a joint 
agreement of all the colonies to a union, in which the ex- 
pense and burthen of defending any of them should be 
divided among them all ; and if ever acts of Assembly in all 
the colonies could be obtained for that purpose, yet as any 
colony, on the least dissatisfaction, might repeal its own act, 
and thereby withdraw itself from the union, it would not be 
a stable one, or such as could be depended on; for if only 
one colony should, on any disgust, withdraw itself, others 
might think it unjust and unequal, that they, by continuing 
in the union, should be at the expense of defending a colony, 
which refused to bear its proportionable part, and would 
therefore one after another withdraw, till the whole crumbled 
into its original parts. Therefore the commissioners came 


to another previous resolution, That it was necessary the 
Union should be established by act of Parliament. 

They then proceeded to sketch out a Plan of Union, 
which they did in a plain and concise manner, just suffi- 
cient to show their sentiments of the kind of union, that 
would best suit the circumstances of the colonies, be most 
agreeable to the people, and most effectually promote his 
Majesty's service, and the general interest of the British 
empire. This was respectfully sent to the Assemblies of 
the several colonies for their consideration, and to receive 
such alterations and improvements as they should think fit 
and necessary; after which it was proposed to be trans- 
mitted to England to be perfected, and the establishment 
of it there humbly solicited. 

This was as much as the commissioners could do. 1 


IT was proposed by some of the commissioners to form 
the colonies into two or three distinct unions; but for these 
reasons that proposal was dropped even by those that made 
it; viz. 

1. In all cases where the strength of the whole was neces- 
sary to be used against the enemy, there would be the same 
difficulty in degree, to bring the several unions to unite 
together, as now the several colonies; and consequently the 
same delays on our part and advantage to the enemy. 

2. Each union would separately be weaker than when 

1 Dr. Davenant was so well convinced of the expediency of a union of the 
colonies, that he recites, at full length, a plan contrived, as he says, with good 
judgment, for the purpose. Davenant t Vol. I, pp. 40, 41, of Sir C. Whit- 
worth's edition. V. 


joined by the whole, obliged to exert more force, be oppressed 
by the expense, and the enemy less deterred from attacking 

3. Where particular colonies have selfish views, as New 
York, with regard to Indian trade and lands; or are less 
exposed, being covered by others, as New Jersey, Rhode 
Island, Connecticut, Maryland; have particular whims 
and prejudices against warlike measures in general, as 
Pennsylvania, where the Quakers predominate; such colo- 
nies would have more weight in a partial union, and be bet- 
ter able to oppose and obstruct the measures necessary for 
the general good, than where they are swallowed up in the 
general union. 

4. The Indian trade would be better regulated by the 
union of the whole than by the partial unions. And as Can- 
ada is chiefly supported by that trade, if it could be drawn 
into the hands of the English, as it might be if the Indians 
were supplied on moderate terms, and by honest traders 
appointed by and acting for the public, that alone would 
contribute greatly to the weakening of our enemies. 

5. The establishing of new colonies westward on the 
Ohio and the Lakes, a matter of considerable importance 
to the increase of British trade and power, to the breaking 
that of the French, and to the protection and security of our 
present colonies, would best be carried on by a joint union. 

6. It was also thought, that by the frequent meetings to- 
gether of commissioners or representatives from all the colo- 
nies, the circumstances of the whole would be better known, 
and the good of the whole better provided for ; and that the 
colonies would by this connexion learn to consider them- 
selves, not as so many independent states, but as members of 


the same body; and thence be more ready to afford assist- 
ance and support to each other, and to make diversions in 
favour even of the most distant, and to join cordially in any 
expedition for the benefit of all against the common enemy. 
These were the principal reasons and motives for form- 
ing the Plan of Union as it stands. To which may be added 
this, that as the union of the [The remainder of this article 
was lost.] 


PLAN. 1 

IT is proposed that humble application be made for an 
act of Parliament of Great Britain, by virtue of which one 
general government may be formed in America, including 
all the said colonies, within and under which government 
each colony may retain its present constitution, except in 
the particulars wherein a change may be directed by the 
said act, as hereafter follows. 

1 The several Articles, as originally adopted are printed in Italic type; the 
reasons and motives in Roman. 

It is to be observed, that the union was to extend to the colonies of New 
Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, 
Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, (being 
all the British Colonies at that time in North America, except Georgia and 
Nova Scotia,) " for their mutual defence and security, and for extending the 
British settlements in North America." Another plan was proposed in the 
Convention, which included only New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, 
Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey. This was printed in the volume 
of the COLLECTIONS of the Massachusetts Historical Society for 1800. It is a 
rough draft of the above Plan, with some unimportant variations. It would 
seem, by the Hints communicated to Mr. Alexander, that Franklin himself 
did not at first contemplate anything more than a union of the northern 
colonies. S. 


That the said general government be administered by a 
President-General, to be appointed and supported by the 
crown; and a Grand Council, to be chosen by the represent- 
atives of the people oj the several colonies met in their 
respective Assemblies. 

It was thought that it would be best the president-general 
should be supported as well as appointed by the crown, that 
so all disputes between him and the grand council concern- 
ing his salary might be prevented; as such disputes have 
been frequently of mischievous consequence in particular 
colonies, especially in time of public danger. The quit- 
rents of crown lands in America might in a short time be 
sufficient for this purpose. This choice of members for the 
grand council is placed in the house of representatives of 
each government, in order to give the people a share in this 
new general government, as the crown has its share by the 
appointment of the president-general. 

But it being proposed by the gentlemen of the council of 
New York, and some other counsellors among the commis- 
sioners, to alter the plan in this particular, and to give the 
governors and council of the several provinces a share in the 
choice of the grand council, or at least a power of approving 
and confirming, or of disallowing, the choice made by the 
house of representatives, it was said, 

"That the government or constitution, proposed to be 
formed by the plan, consists of two branches; a president- 
general appointed by the crown, and a council chosen by the 
people, or by the people's representatives, which is the same 


"That by a subsequent article, the council chosen by the 
people can effect nothing without the consent of the presi- 
dent-general appointed by the crown; the crown possesses 
therefore full one half of the power of this constitution. 

"That in the British constitution, the crown is supposed 
to possess but one third, the lords having their share. 

"That this constitution seemed rather more favourable for 
the crown. 

"That it is essential to English liberty, that the subject 
should not be taxed but by his own consent, or the consent 
of his elected representatives. 

"That taxes to be laid and levied by this proposed consti- 
tution will be proposed and agreed to by the representatives 
of the people, if the plan in this particular be preserved; 

"But if the proposed alteration should take place, it seemed 
as if matters may be so managed, as that the crown shall 
finally have the appointment, not only of the president-gen- 
eral, but of a majority of the grand council; for seven out 
of eleven governors and councils are appointed by the crown ; 

"And so the people in all the colonies would in effect be 
taxed by their governors. 

"It was therefore apprehended, that such alterations of 
the plan would give great dissatisfaction, and that the colo- 
nies could not be easy under such a power in governors, and 
such an infringement of what they take to be English liberty. 

"Besides, the giving a share in the choice of the grand 
council would not be equal with respect to all the colonies, 
as their constitutions differ. In some, both governor and 
council are appointed by the crown. In others, they are 
both appointed by the proprietors. In some, the people 
have a share in the choice of the council; in others, both 

VOL. Ill P 


government and council are wholly chosen by the people. 
But the house of representatives is everywhere chosen by 
the people; and, therefore, placing the right of choosing the 
grand council in the representatives is equal with respect to 

"That the grand council is intended to represent all the 
several houses of representatives of the colonies, as a house 
of representatives doth the several towns or counties of a 
colony. Could all the people of a colony be consulted and 
unite in public measures, a house of representatives would 
be needless, and could all the Assemblies conveniently con- 
sult and unite in general measures, the grand council would 
be unnecessary. 

"That a house of commons or the house of representa- 
tives, and the grand council, are thus alike in their nature 
and intention. And, as it would seem improper that the 
King or House of Lords should have a power of disallowing 
or appointing members of the House of Commons; so like- 
wise, that a governor and council appointed by the crown 
should have a power of disallowing or appointing members 
of the grand council, who, in this constitution, are to be the 
representatives of the people. 

" If the governors and councils therefore were to have a 
share in the choice of any that are to conduct this general 
government, it should seem more proper that they choose 
the president-general. But, this being an office of great 
trust and importance to the nation, it was thought better to 
be filled by the immediate appointment of the crown. 

"The power proposed to be given by the plan to the grand 
council is only a concentration of the powers of the several 
Assemblies in certain points for the general welfare; as the 


power of the president-general is, of the powers of the sev- 
eral governors in the same points. 

"And as the choice therefore of the grand council, by the 
representatives of the people, neither gives the people any 
new powers, nor diminishes the power of the crown, it was 
thought and hoped the crown would not disapprove of it." 

Upon the whole, the commissioners were of opinion, that 
the choice was most properly placed in the representatives 
of the people. 


That within months after the passing such act, 

the house of representatives, that happen to be sitting with- 
in that time, or that shall be especially for that purpose con- 
vened, may and shall choose members for the grand council, 
in the following proportion, that is to say, 

Massachusett's Bay, ........ 7 

New Hampshire, ......... 2 

Connecticut, ........... 5 

Rhode Island, .......... 2 

New York, ........... 4 

New Jersey, ........... 3 

Pennsylvania, .......... 6 

Maryland, ........... 4 

Virginia, ............ 7 

North Carolina, ......... 4 

South Carolina, ......... 4 

It was thought, that if the least colony was allowed two, 
and the others in proportion, the number would be very 


great, and the expense heavy ; and that less than two would 
not be convenient, as, a single person being by any accident 
prevented appearing at the meeting, the colony he ought to 
appear for would not be represented. That as the choice 
was not immediately popular, they would be generally men 
of good abilities for business, and men of reputation for in- 
tegrity; and that forty-eight such men might be a number 
sufficient. But though it was thought reasonable that each 
colony should have a share in the representative body in 
some degree according to the proportion it contributed to 
the general treasury, yet the proportion of wealth or power of 
the colonies is not to be judged by the proportion here 
fixed ; because it was at first agreed, that the greatest colony 
should not have more than seven members, nor the least 
less than two; and the setting these proportions between 
these two extremes was not nicely attended to, as it would 
find itself, after the first election, from the sums brought 
into the treasury, as by a subsequent article. 


who shall meet }or the first time at the city of Philadelphia 
in Pennsylvania, being called by the President-General as 
soon as conveniently may be after his appointment. 

Philadelphia was named as being nearer the centre of the 
colonies, where the commissioners would be well and cheaply 
accommodated. The high roads, through the whole ex- 
tent, are for the most part very good, in which forty or fifty 
miles a day may very well be, and frequently are, travelled. 
Great part of the way may likewise be gone by water. In 
summer time, the passages are frequently performed in a 


week from Charleston to Philadelphia and New York; and 
from Rhode Island to New York through the Sound, in two 
or three days ; and from New York to Philadelphia, by water 
and land, in two days, by stage, boats and wheel carriages 
that set out every other day. The journey from Charles- 
ton to Philadelphia may likewise be facilitated by boats run- 
ning up Chesapeake Bay three hundred miles. But if the 
whole journey be performed on horseback, the most distant 
members, viz. the two from New Hampshire and from South 
Carolina may probably render themselves at Philadelphia in 
fifteen or twenty days; the majority may be there in much 
less time. 


That there shall be a new election of the members of the 
Grand Council every three years; and, on the death or resig- 
nation of any member, his place should be supplied by a new 
choice at the next sitting oj the Assembly of the colony he 

Some colonies have annual assemblies, some continue 
during a governor's pleasure ; three years was thought a rea- 
sonable medium, as affording a new member time to improve 
himself in the business, and to act after such improvement, 
and yet giving opportunities, frequently enough, to change 
him, if he has misbehaved. 


That after the first three years, when the proportion of money 
arising out of each colony to the general treasury can be 
known, the number of members to be chosen for each colony 
shall from time to time, in all ensuing elections, be regulated 


by that proportion, yet so as that the number to be chosen by 
any one province be not more than seven, nor less than two. 

By a subsequent article it is proposed, that the general 
council shall lay and levy such general duties, as to them 
may appear most equal and least burthensome, &c. Sup- 
pose, for instance, they lay a small duty or excise on some 
commodity imported into or made in the colonies, and pretty 
generally and equally used in all of them, as rum perhaps, 
or wine; the yearly produce of this duty or excise, if fairly 
collected, would be in some colonies greater, in others less, 
as the colonies are greater or smaller. When the collector's 
accounts are brought in, the proportions will appear; and 
from them it is proposed to regulate the proportion of rep- 
resentatives to be chosen at the next general election, within 
the limits however of seven and two. These numbers may 
therefore vary in the course of years, as the colonies may in 
the growth and increase of people. And thus the quota of tax 
from each colony would naturally vary with its circumstances 
thereby preventing all disputes and dissatisfaction about the 
just proportions due from each ; which might otherwise pro- 
duce pernicious consequences, and destroy the harmony and 
good agreement that ought to subsist between the several 
parts of the Union. 


That the Grand Council shall meet once in every year, and 
cftener if occasion require, at such time and place as they shall 
adjourn to at the last preceding meeting, or as they shall be 
called to meet at by the President-General on any emergency; 
he having first obtained in writing the consent of seven of the 
members to such call, and sent due and timely notice to the 


It was thought, in establishing and governing new colo- 
nies or settlements, regulating Indian trade, Indian treaties, 
&c., there would be every year sufficient business arise to 
require at least one meeting, and at such meeting many 
things might be suggested for the benefit of all the colonies. 
This annual meeting may either be at a time or place cer- 
tain, to be fixed by the president-general and grand council 
at their first meeting; or left at liberty, to be at such time 
and place as they shall adjourn to, or be called to meet at 
by the president-general. 

In time of war it seems convenient, that the meeting should 
be in that colony, which is nearest the seat of action. 

The power of calling them on any emergency seemed nec- 
essary to be vested in the president-general ; but, that such 
power might not be wantonly used to harass the members, 
and oblige them to make frequent long journeys to little pur- 
pose, the consent of seven at least to such call was supposed 
a convenient guard. 


That the Grand Council have power to choose their speaker; 
and shall neither be dissolved, prorogued, nor continued sit- 
ting longer than six weeks at one time, without their own 
consent or the special command of the crown. 

The speaker should be presented for approbation ; it be- 
ing convenient, to prevent misunderstandings and disgusts, 
that the mouth of the councils should be a person agreeable, 
if possible, both to the council and president-general. 

Governors have sometimes wantonly exercised the power 
of proroguing or continuing the sessions of assemblies, merely 
to harass the members and compel a compliance; and 


sometimes dissolve them on slight disgusts. This it was 
feared might be done by the president-general, if not pro- 
vided against; and the inconvenience and hardship would 
be greater in the general government than in particular colo- 
nies, in proportion to the distance the members must be from 
home during sittings, and the long journeys some of them 
must necessarily take. 


That the members of the Grand Council shall be allowed 
for their service ten shillings sterling per diem, during their 
session and journey to and jrom the place of meeting; twenty 
miles to be reckoned a day's journey. 

It was thought proper to allow some wages, lest the expense 
might deter some suitable persons from the service; and 
not to allow too great wages, lest unsuitable persons should be 
tempted to cabal for the employment, for the sake of gain. 
Twenty miles were set down as a day's journey, to allow for 
accidental hindrances on the road, and the greater expenses 
of travelling than residing at the place of meeting. 


That the assent of the President-General be requisite to all 
acts of the Grand Council, and that it be his office and duty to 
cause them to be carried into execution. 

The assent of the president-general to all acts of the grand 
council was made necessary, in order to give the crown its 
due share of influence in this government, and connect it 
with that of Great Britain. The president-general, besides 
one half of the legislative power, hath in his hands the whole 
executive power. 



That the President-General, with the advice of the Grand 
Council, hold or direct all Indian treaties, in which the gen- 
eral interest 0} the colonies may be concerned; and make peace 
or declare war with Indian nations. 

The power of making peace or war with Indian nations is 
at present supposed to be in every colony, and is expressly 
granted to some by charter, so that no new power is hereby 
intended to be granted to the colonies. But as, in conse- 
quence of this power, one colony might make peace with a 
nation that another was justly engaged in war with ; or make 
war on slight occasions without the concurrence or appro- 
bation of neighbouring colonies, greatly endangered by it; 
or make particular treaties of neutrality in case of a general 
war, to their own private advantage in trade, by supplying 
the common enemy ; of all which there have been instances ; 
it was thought better, to have all treaties of a general nature 
under a general direction, that so the good of the whole may 
be consulted and provided for. 


That they make such laws as they judge necessary for 
regulating all Indian trade. 

Many quarrels and wars have arisen between the colonies 
and Indian nations, through the bad conduct of traders who 
cheat the Indians after making them drunk, &c., to the great 
expense of the colonies, both in blood and treasure. Par- 
ticular colonies are so interested in the trade, as not to be 


willing to admit such a regulation as might be best for the 
whole; and therefore it was thought best under a general 


That they make all purchases, from Indians for the crown, 
of lands not now within the bounds of particular colonies, 
or that shall not be within their bounds when some of them 
are reduced to more convenient dimensions. 

Purchases from the Indians, made by private persons, 
have been attended with many inconveniences. They 
have frequently interfered, and occasioned uncertainty of 
titles, many disputes and expensive law suits, and hindered 
the settlement of the land so disputed. Then the Indians 
have been cheated by such private purchases, and discontent 
and wars have been the consequence. These would be 
prevented by public fair purchases. 

Several of the colony charters in America extend their 
bounds to the South Sea, which may be perhaps three or 
four thousand miles in length to one or two hundred miles 
in breadth. It is supposed they must in time be reduced 
to dimensions more convenient for the common purposes 
of government. 

Very little of the land in those grants is yet purchased 
of the Indians. 

It is much cheaper to purchase of them, than to take 
and maintain the possession by force; for they are generally 
very reasonable in their demands for land; and the expense 
of guarding a large frontier against their incursions is vastly 
great; because all must be guarded, and always guarded, 
as we know not where or when to expect them. 


That they make new settlements on such purchases, by 
granting lands in the King's name, reserving a quit-rent 
to the crown for the use of the general treasury. 

It is supposed better that there should be one purchaser 
than many; and that the crown should be that purchaser, 
or the Union in the name of the crown. By this means the 
bargains may be more easily made, the price not enhanced 
by numerous bidders, future disputes about private Indian 
purchases, and monopolies of vast tracts to particular persons 
(which are prejudicial to the settlement and peopling of the 
country), prevented; and, the land being again granted in 
small tracts to the settlers, the quit-rents reserved may in 
time become a fund for support of government, for defence 
of the country, ease of taxes, &c. 

Strong forts on the Lakes, the Ohio, &c., may, at the 
same time they secure our present frontiers, serve to defend 
new colonies settled under their protection ; and such colonies 
would also mutually defend and support such forts, and 
better secure the friendship of the far Indians. 

A particular colony has scarce strength enough to extend 
itself by new settlements, at so great a distance from the 
old ; but the joint force of the Union might suddenly establish 
a new colony or two in those parts, or extend an old colony 
to particular passes, greatly to the security of our present 
frontiers, increase of trade and people, breaking off the 
French communication between Canada and Louisiana, 
and speedy settlement of the intermediate lands. 

The power of settling new colonies is therefore thought 


a valuable part of the plan, and what cannot so well be 
executed by two unions as by one. 


That they make laws for regulating and governing such 
new settlements, till the crown shall think fit to form them 
into particular governments. 

The making of laws suitable for the new colonies, 
it was thought, would be properly vested in the president- 
general and grand council; under whose protection they 
must at first necessarily be, and who would be well acquainted 
with their circumstances, as having settled them. When 
they are become sufficiently populous, they may by the 
crown be formed into complete and distinct governments. 

The appointment of a sub-president by the crown, to 
take place in case of the death or absence of the president- 
general, would perhaps be an improvement of the plan; 
and if all the governors of particular provinces were to be 
formed into a standing council of state, for the advice and 
assistance of the president-general, it might be another 
considerable improvement. 


That they raise and pay soldiers and build forts for the 
defence of any of the colonies, and equip vessels of force to 
guard the coasts and protect the trade on the ocean, lakes, 
or great rivers; but they shall not impress men in any colony, 
without the consent of the legislature. 

It was thought, that quotas of men, to be raised and 
paid by the several colonies, and joined for any public 


service, could not always be got together with the necessary 
expedition. For instance, suppose one thousand men should 
be wanted in New Hampshire on any emergency. To fetch 
them by fifties and hundreds out of every colony, as far as 
South Carolina, would be inconvenient, the transportation 
chargeable, and the occasion perhaps passed before they 
could be assembled; and therefore that it would be best 
to raise them (by offering bounty-money and pay) near the 
place where they would be wanted, to be discharged again 
when the service should be over. 

Particular colonies are at present backward to build 
forts at their own expense, which they say will be equally 
useful to their neighbouring colonies; who refuse to join, 
on a presumption that such forts will be built and kept 
up, though they contribute nothing. This unjust conduct 
weakens the whole ; but the forts being for the good of the 
whole, it was thought best they should be built and maintained 
by the whole, out of the common treasury. 

In the time of war, small vessels of force are sometimes 
necessary in the colonies to scour the coasts of small privateers. 
These being provided by the Union will be an advantage 
in turn to the colonies which are situated on the sea, and 
whose frontiers on the landside, being covered by other 
colonies, reap but little immediate benefit from the advanced 


That for these purposes they have power to make laws, 
and lay and levy such general duties, imposts, or taxes, as to 
them shall appear most equal and just (considering the ability 
and other circumstances of the inhabitants in the several 
colonies), and such as may be collected with the least incon- 


venience to ike people; rather discouraging luxury, than 
loading industry with unnecessary burthens. 

The laws which the president-general and grand council 
are empowered to make are such only as shall be necessary 
for the government of the settlements ; the raising, regulating, 
and paying soldiers for the general service; the regulating 
of Indian trade ; and laying and collecting the general duties 
and taxes. They should also have a power to restrain the 
exportation of provisions to the enemy from any of the 
colonies, on particular occasions, in time of war. But it is 
not intended that they may interfere with the constitution 
and government of the particular colonies ; who are to be 
left to their own laws, and to lay, levy, and apply their own 
taxes as before. 


That they may appoint a General Treasurer and Par- 
ticular Treasurer in each government ', when necessary; and 
jrom time to time may order the sums in the treasuries 0} 
each government into the general treasury; or draw on them 
for special payments, as they find most convenient. 

The treasurers here meant are only for the general funds, 
and not for the particular funds of each colony, which 
remain in the hands of their own treasurers at their own 


Yet no money to issue but by joint orders of the President- 
General and Grand Council; except where sums have been 
appropriated to particular purposes, and the President-Gen- 
eral is previously empowered by an act to draw such sums. 


To prevent misapplication of the money, or even applica- 
tion that might be dissatisfactory to the crown or the people, 
it was thought necessary, to join the president-general and 
grand council in all issues of money. 


That the general accounts shall be yearly settled and reported 
to the several Assemblies. 

By communicating the accounts yearly to each Assembly, 
they will be satisfied of the prudent and honest conduct 
of their representatives in the grand council. 


That a quorum of the Grand Council, empowered to act 
with the President-General, do consist of twenty -five members; 
among whom there shall be one or more from a majority oj 
the colonies. 

The quorum seems large, but it was thought it would 
not be satisfactory to the colonies in general, to have matters 
of importance to the whole transacted by a smaller number, 
or even by this number of twenty- five, unless there were 
among them one at least from a majority of the colonies; 
because otherwise, the whole quorum being made up of 
members from three or four colonies at one end of the union, 
something might be done that would not be equal with 
respect to the rest, and thence dissatisfaction and discords 
might rise to the prejudice of the whole. 


That the laws made by them for the purposes aforesaid 
shall not be repugnant, but, as near as may be, agreeable 


to the laws of England, and shall be transmitted to the King 
in Council for approbation, as soon as may be after their pass- 
ing; and if not disapproved within three years after pres- 
entation, to remain in force. 

This was thought necessary for the satisfaction of the crown, 
to preserve the connexion of the parts of the British empire 
with the whole, of the members with the head, and to induce 
greater care and circumspection in making of the laws, 
that they be good in themselves and for the general benefit. 


That, in case of the death of the President-General, the 
Speaker of the Grand Council for the time being shall succeed, 
and be vested with the same powers and authorities, to con- 
tinue till the King's pleasure be known. 

It might be better, perhaps, as was said before, if the 
crown appointed a vice-president, to take place on the 
death or absence of the president-general ; for so we should 
be more sure of a suitable person at the head of the colonies. 
On the death or absence of both, the speaker to take place 
(or rather the eldest King's governor) till his Majesty's 
pleasure be known. 


That all military commission officers, whether for land 
or sea service, to act under this general constitution, shall 
be nominated by the President-General; but the approbation 
of the Grand Council is to be obtained, before they receive 
their commissions. And all civil officers are to be nominated 
by the Grand Council, and to receive the President-General's 
approbation before they officiate. 


It was thought it might be very prejudicial to the service, 
to have officers appointed unknown to the people, or un- 
acceptable, the generality of Americans serving willingly 
under officers they know; and not caring to engage in the 
service under strangers, or such as are often appointed by 
governors through favour or interest. The service here meant, 
is not the stated, settled service in standing troops; but any 
sudden and short service, either for defence of our colonies, 
or invading the enemy's country; (such as the expedition 
to Cape Breton in the last war; in which many substantial 
farmers and tradesmen engaged as common soldiers, under 
officers of their own country, for whom they had an esteem 
and affection; who would not have engaged in a standing 
army, or under officers from England.) It was therefore 
thought best to give the council the power of approving 
the officers, which the people will look upon as a great 
security of their being good men. And without some such 
provision as this, it was thought the expense of engaging men 
in the service on any emergency would be much greater, and 
the number who could be induced to engage much less; 
and that therefore it would be most for the King's service 
and general benefit of the nation, that the prerogative should 
relax a little in this particular throughout all the colonies 
in America ; as it had already done much more in the charters 
of some particular colonies, viz. Connecticut and Rhode Island. 

The civil officers will be chiefly treasurers and collectors 
of taxes ; and the suitable persons are most likely to be known 
by the council. 


But, in case of vacancy by death or removal of any officer 
civil or military under this constitution, the Governor of the 

VOL. Ill Q 


province in which such vacancy happens may appoint, till 
the pleasure of the President-General and Grand Council 
can be known. 

The vacancies were thought best supplied by the governors 
in each province, till a new appointment can be regularly 
made ; otherwise the service might suffer before the meeting 
of the president-general and grand council. 


That the particular military as well as civil establishments 
in each colony remain in their present state, the general con- 
stitution notwithstanding; and that on sudden emergencies 
any colony may defend itself, and lay the accounts of expense 
thence arising before the President-General and General 
Council, who may allow and order payment of the same, 
as jar as they judge such accounts just and reasonable. 

Otherwise the union of the whole would weaken the parts, 
contrary to the design of the union. The accounts are to be 
judged of by the president-general and grand council, and 
allowed if found reasonable. This was thought necessary 
to encourage colonies to defend themselves, as the expense 
would be light when borne by the whole ; and also to check 
imprudent and lavish expense in such defences. 1 

1 In Carey's American Museum, 1789, February (pp. 190-194), March 
(pp. 285-288), April (pp. 365-368), there is an elaborate article, "Albany 
Plan of Union," at the conclusion of which appears the following : 

" Remark February 9, 1789. 

" On Reflection it now seems probable, that if the foregoing Plan or some- 
thing like it had been adopted and carried into Execution, the subsequent 
Separation of the Colonies from the Mother Country might not so soon have 
happened, nor the Mischiefs suffered on both sides have occurred perhaps 
during another Century. For the Colonies, if so united, would have really 



DEAR SIR, Philadelphia, August 30, 1754. 

I have now before me your favours of July 23d, and 
August 1 5th. I return Mr. Pike's Philosophic, Sacra. His 
manner of philosophizing is much out of my way. 

been, as they then thought themselves, sufficient to their own Defence, and 
being trusted with it, as by the Plan, an Army from Britain, for that purpose 
would have been unnecessary ; The Pretences for framing the Stamp Act 
would then not have existed, nor the other Projects for drawing a Revenue 
from America to Britain by Act of Parliament, which were the Causes of the 
Breach & attended with such terrible Expense of Blood and Treasure ; so 
that the different Parts of the Empire might still have remained in Peace and 
Union. But the Fate of this Plan was singular. For then after many Days 
thorough Discussion of all its Parts in Congress it was unanimously agreed to, 
and Copies ordered to be sent to the Assembly of each Province for Concur- 
rence, and one to the Ministry in England for the Approbation of the Crown. 
The Crown disapproved it, as having placed too much Weight in the Demo- 
cratic Part of the Constitution ; and every Assembly as having allowed too 
much to Prerogative. So it was totally rejected." 

The above, as printed in The Museum, omits the word " Remark," but 
bears date at the bottom, Philadelphia, April 9, 1789. It was written by 
Dr. Franklin and accompanied the following letter : 


"I thank you for the Opportunity you propose to give me of making 
Alterations in those old Pieces of mine which you intend to republish in your 
Museum. I have no Inclination to make any Changes in them ; but should 
like to see the Proof Sheet, supposing your Copies may possibly be incorrect. 
And if you have no Objection, you may follow the Albany Plan with the 
enclosed Remark but not as from me. 

" I am, Sir 

" Your humble Servant, 

Addressed on the back : - < Si g ned ) " B FKANKLIN " 

" Mr. Mathew Carey 

" Printer of the Museum." 

The originals of the above papers, in the handwriting of Dr. Franklin, are 
in my possession. HENRY CAREY BAIRD. 


1 First printed by Sparks. 


I am now about to proceed on my eastern journey, but 
hope to be at home in the winter, the best season for electrical 
experiments, when I will gladly make any you desire. In 
the mean time I should be glad if you would communicate 
the thoughts you mention, that I may consider them. If 
you please, direct them to me at Boston. 

There must, I think, be some mistake in what you mention, 
of my having sent to Mr. Collinson the paper you wrote 
me on water-spouts. I have the original now by me, and 
cannot recollect that I ever copied it, or that I ever com- 
municated the contents of it to Mr. Collinson or any one. 
Indeed I have long had an intention of sending him all I 
have wrote, and all I have received from others on this curi- 
ous subject, without mentioning names; but it is not yet done. 

Our Assembly were not inclined to show any approbation 
of the plan of union; yet I suppose they will take no steps 
to oppose its being established by the government at 
home. Popular elections have their inconveniencies in 
some cases; but in establishing new forms of government, 
we cannot always obtain what we may think the best; for 
the prejudices of those concerned, if they cannot be removed, 
must be in some degree complied with. However, I am 
of opinion, that when troops are to be raised in America, the 
officers appointed must be men they know and approve, or 
the levies will be made with more difficulty, and at much 
greater expense. 

It is not to be expected that a Quaker Assembly will 
establish any but Quaker schools; nor will they ever agree 
to a tax for the payment of any clergy. It is intended 
by the Society, that the schoolmasters among the Germans 
shall teach English. 


I am glad the representation is agreeable to your senti- 
ments. The letter to Lord Halifax I suppose your son sends 
from New York. 

Since my return I have received from Italy a book in 
quarto, entitled DelV Elettricismo Artificiale e Naturale 
Libri Due, di Giovambattista Beccaria de* CC. RR. delle 
Scuole Pie, printed at Turin, and dedicated to the King. 
The author professedly goes on my principles; he seems 
a master of method, and has reduced to systematic order 
the scattered experiments and positions delivered in my 
paper. At the end of the first book, there is a letter addressed 
to the Abbe* Nollet, in which he answers some of the Abbess 
principal objections. This letter being translated into French, 
I send you the translation for your perusal, and will send 
you the Italian book itself by some future opportunity, 
if you desire it. It pleases me the more, in that I find the 
author has been led by sundry observations and experiments, 
though different from mine, to the same strange conclusion, 
viz. that some thunder-strokes are from the earth upwards; 
in which I feared I should for some time have been singular. 

With the greatest esteem and regard I am, dear Sir, 


P. S. Please to send me the French piece by the first 
opportunity, after you have perused it, directed to me at 


178. TO RICHARD PETERS (p. H. s.) 

New York, Sept. 17. 1754. 


The Bearer, M r . Elphiriston, has a secret Art, by which 
he teaches, even a veteran Scrawler, to write fairly in 30 
Hours. I have often heard you laugh at the Secretary's 
Writing, and I hope he will take this Opportunity of mend- 
ing his Hand ; for tho' we are about to have a new Governor, 
and, they say, a new Assembly, I do not desire to see a new 
Secretary: I only think it convenient that what he writes 
may possibly be read. 

But to be serious. Many Gentlemen and Ladies of this 
Place have improv'd their Hands exceedingly under this 
Gentleman's Direction, and in a Time so short as is really 
surprizing; the Testimonies will be produc'd to you. M r . 
Elphinston visits Philadelphia, hoping, from the Character 
of the Place, that so useful an Art will not fail to meet with 
Encouragement there. He bears the Character here of an 
honest worthy Man, and as such I beg leave to recommend 
him to your Patronage. With the greatest Respect, I am 
Dear Sir 

Your affectionate hum*. Serv 1 , 
R. Peters Esq. B FRANKLIN 

P. S. I have heard our good Friend M r . Allen sometimes 
wishing for a better Hand ; this may be a good Opportunity 
for him to acquire it easily. His Example and yours would 
be the Making of the Artist's Fortune. 





Tuesday Morning. [December 17, 1754.] 


I return you the loose sheets of the plan, with thanks 
to your Excellency for communicating them. 

I apprehend, that excluding the people of the colonies 
from all share in the choice of the grand council will give 
extreme dissatisfaction, as well as the taxing them by act 
of Parliament, where they have no representative. It is 
very possible, that this general government might be as 
well and faithfully administered without the people, as with 
them; but where heavy burthens have been laid on them, 
it has been found useful to make it, as much as possible, 
their own act ; for they bear better when they have, or think 
they have some share in the direction ; and when any public 
measures are generally grievous, or even distasteful to the 
people, the wheels of government move more heavily. 

1 These letters first appeared in The London Chronicle, February 6 and 8, 
1766. They were published again in The London Magazine, February, 1766, 
and in The Pennsylvania Chronicle, January 1 6, 1769. They were republished 
in Almon's " Remembrancer" in 1776. ED. 




Wednesday Morning. [December 18, 1754.] 


I mentioned it yesterday to your Excellency as my opinion, 
that excluding the people of the colonies from all share in 
the choice of the grand council, would probably give extreme 
dissatisfaction, as well as the taxing them by act of Parlia- 
ment, where they have no representative. In matters of 
general concern to the people, and especially where burthens 
are to be laid upon them, it is of use to consider, as well what 
they will be apt to think and say, as what they ought to think; 
I shall therefore, as your Excellency requires it of me, briefly 
mention what of either kind occurs to me on this occasion. 

First they will say, and perhaps with justice, that the body 
of the people in the colonies are as loyal, and as firmly at- 
tached to the present constitution, and reigning family, as 
any subjects in the king's dominions. 

That there is no reason to doubt the readiness and willing- 
ness of the representatives they may choose, to grant from 
time to time such supplies for the defence of the country, 
as shall be judged necessary, so far as their abilities will 

That the people in the colonies, who are to feel the im- 
mediate mischiefs of invasion and conquest by an enemy 
in the loss of their estates, lives and liberties, are likely to 
be better judges of the quantity of forces necessary to be raised 
and maintained, forts to be built and supported, and of their 


own abilities to bear the expence, than the parliament of 
England at so great a distance. 

That governors often come to the colonies merely to make 
fortunes, with which they intend to return to Britain; are 
not always men of the best abilities or integrity ; have many 
of them no estates here, nor any natural connexions with 
us, that should make them heartily concerned for our welfare ; 
and might possibly be fond of raising and keeping up more 
forces than necessary, from the profits accruing to them- 
selves, and to make provision for their friends and depen- 

That the counsellors in most of the colonies being appointed 
by the crown, on the recommendation of governors, are 
often of small estates, frequently dependant on the governors 
for offices, and therefore too much under influence. 

That there is therefore great reason to be jealous of a 
power in such governors and councils, to raise such sums 
as they shall judge necessary, by draft on the lords of the 
treasury, to be afterwards laid on the colonies by act of 
parliament, and paid by the people here ; since they might 
abuse it by projecting useless expeditions, harassing the 
people, and taking them from their labour to execute such 
projects, merely to create offices and employments, and 
gratify their dependants, and divide profits. 

That the parliament of England is at a great distance, 
subject to be misinformed and misled by such Governors 
and Councils, whose united interests might probably secure 
them against the effect of any complaint from hence. 

That it is supposed an undoubted right of Englishmen, not 
to be taxed but by their own consent given through their 


That the colonies have no representatives in parliament. 

That to propose taxing them by parliament, and refuse 
them the liberty of choosing a representative council, to meet 
in the colonies, and consider and judge of the necessity of any 
general tax, and the quantum, shews suspicion of their loyalty 
to the crown, or of their regard for their country, or of their 
common sense and understanding, which they have not 

That compelling the colonies to pay money without their 
consent, would be rather like raising contributions in an 
enemy's country, than taxing of Englishmen for their own 
public benefit. 

That it would be treating them as a conquered people, 
and not as true British subjects. 

That a tax laid by the representatives of the colonies 
might easily be lessened as the occasions should lessen, 
but being once laid by parliament under the influence of 
the representations made by Governors, would probably 
be kept up and continued for the benefit of Governors, to 
the grievous burthen and discouragement of the colonies, 
and prevention of their growth and increase. 

That a power in Governors to march the inhabitants from 
one end of the British and French colonies to the other, 
being a country of at least 1500 square miles, without the 
approbation or the consent of their representatives first 
obtained, such expeditions might be grievous and ruinous 
to the people, and would put them on footing with the sub- 
jects of France in Canada, that now groan under such 
oppression from their Governor, who for two years past has 
harrassed them with long and destructive marches to Ohio. 

That if the colonies in a body may be well governed by 


governors and councils appointed by the crown, without 
representatives, particular colonies may as well or better be 
so governed; a tax may be laid upon them all by act of 
parliament for support of government, and their assemblies 
may be dismissed as an useless part of the constitution. 

That the powers proposed by the Albany Plan of Union, 
to be vested in a grand council representative of the people, 
even with regard to military matters, are not so great as 
those the colonies of Rhode Island and Connecticut are 
entrusted with by their charters, and have never abused; 
for by this plan, the president-general is appointed by the 
crown, and controls all by his negative ; but in those govern- 
ments, the people choose the Governor, and yet allow him no 

That the British colonies bordering on the French are 
properly frontiers of the British empire; and the frontiers 
of an empire are properly defended at the joint expence of 
the body of the people in such empire: It would now be 
thought hard by act of parliament to oblige the Cinque 
Ports or seacoasts of Britain to maintain the whole navy, 
because they are more immediately defended by it, not 
allowing them at the same time a vote in choosing members 
of the parliament ; and if the frontiers in America bear the 
expence of their own defence, it seems hard to allow them no 
share in voting the money, judging of the necessity and sum, 
or advising the measures. 

That besides the taxes necessary for the defence of the 
frontiers, the colonies pay yearly great sums to the mother- 
country unnoticed: For taxes paid in Britain by the land- 
holder or artificer, must enter into and increase the price of 
the produce of land and of manufactures made of it; and 


great part of this is paid by consumers in the colonies, who 
thereby pay a considerable part of the British taxes. 

We are restrained in our trade with foreign nations, and 
where we could be supplied with any manufacture cheaper 
from them, but must buy the same dearer from Britain ; the 
difference of price is a clear tax to Britain. 

We are obliged to carry a great part of our produce directly 
to Britain ; and where the duties laid upon it lessen its price 
to the planter, or it sells for less than it would in foreign 
markets; the difference is a tax paid to Britain. 

Some manufactures we could make, but are forbidden, 
and must take them of British merchants; the whole price 
is a tax paid to Britain. 

By our greatly increasing the demand and consumption of 
British manufactures, their price is considerably raised of 
late years; the advantage is clear profit to Britain, and 
enables its people better to pay great taxes; and much of 
it being paid by us, is clear tax to Britain. 

In short, as we are not suffered to regulate our trade, 
and restrain the importation and consumption of British 
superfluities (as Britain can the consumption of foreign 
superfluities) our whole wealth centers finally amongst the 
merchants and inhabitants of Britain, and if we make 
them richer, and enable them better to pay their taxes, it is 
nearly the same as being taxed ourselves, and equally 
beneficial to the crown. 

These kind of secondary taxes, however, we do not 
complain of, though we have no share in the laying, or dis- 
posing of them; but to pay immediate heavy taxes, in the 
laying, appropriation, and disposition of which we have no 
part, and which perhaps we may know to be as unnecessary, 


as grievous, must seem hard measure to Englishmen, who 
cannot conceive, that by hazarding their lives and fortunes, 
in subduing and settling new countries, extending the do- 
minion, and increasing the commerce of the mother nation, 
they have forfeited the native rights of Britons, which they 
think ought rather to be given to them, as due to such merit, 
if they had been before in a state of slavery. 

These, and such kind of things as these, I apprehend, 
will be thought and said by the people, if the proposed 
alteration of the Albany plan should take place. Then the 
administration of the board of governors and councils so 
appointed, not having any representative body of the people 
to approve and unite in its measures, and conciliate the 
minds of the people to them, will probably become suspected 
and odious; dangerous animosities and feuds will arise 
between the governors and governed; and every thing go 
into confusion. 

Perhaps I am too apprehensive in this matter ; but having 
freely given my opinion and reasons, your Excellency can 
judge better than I whether there be any weight in them, 
and the shortness of the time allowed me, will, I hope, in 
some degree excuse the imperfections of this scrawl. 

With the greatest respect, and fidelity, I have the honour 

to be, 

Your Excellency's most obedient, 

and most humble servant, 


1 Respecting this letter, Mr. John Adams said (in his History of the Dis- 
pute -with America, first published in 1774) ; "Dr. Franklin, who was known 
to be an active and very able man, and to have great influence in the province 
of Pennsylvania, was in Boston in the year 1754, and Mr. Shirley communi- 
cated to him the profound secret, the great design of taxing the colonies by 




Boston, Dec. 22, 1754. 

Since the conversation your Excellency was pleased to 
honour me with, on the subject of uniting the colonies more 
intimately with Great Britain, by allowing them represent- 
atives in parliament, I have something further considered 
that matter, and am of opinion, that such a union would be 
very acceptable to the colonies, provided they had a reason- 
f able number of representatives allowed them ; and that all 
the old acts of Parliament restraining the trade or cramping 
the manufactures of the colonies be at the same time repealed, 
and the British subjects on this side the water put, in those 
respects, on the same footing with those in Great Britain, 
till the new Parliament, representing the whole, shall think 
it for the interest of the whole to reenact some or all of them. 
It is not that I imagine so many representatives will be 
allowed the colonies, as to have any great weight by their 
numbers; but I think there might be sufficient to occasion 
those laws to be better and more impartially considered, and 
perhaps to overcome the interest of a petty corporation, or of 
any particular set of artificers or traders in England, who 

act of Parliament. This sagacious gentleman and distinguished patriot, to 
his lasting honor, sent the governor an answer in writing, with the following 
remarks on his scheme." Mr. Adams then quotes the principal parts of the 
above letter. S. 


heretofore seem, in some instances, to have been more 
regarded than all the colonies, or than was consistent with 
the general interest, or best national good. I think too, 
that the government of the colonies by a parliament, in 
which they are fairly represented, would be vastly more 
agreeable to the people, than the method lately attempted 
to be introduced by royal instructions, as well as more agree- 
able to the nature of an English constitution, and to English 
liberty ; and that such laws as now seem to bear hard on the 
colonies, would (when judged by such a Parliament for the 
best interest of the whole) be more cheerfully submitted to, 
and more easily executed. 

I should hope too, that by such a union, the people of 
Great Britain, and the people of the colonies, would learn 
to consider themselves, as not belonging to a different com- 
munity with different interests, but to one community 
with one interest; which I imagine would contribute to 
strengthen the whole, and greatly lessen the danger of future 

It is, I suppose, agreed to be the general interest of any 
state, that its people be numerous and rich; men enough to 
fight in its defence, and enough to pay sufficient taxes to 
defray the charge; for these circumstances tend to the 
security of the state, and its protection from foreign power : 
But it seems not of so much importance, whether the fighting 
be done by John or Thomas, or the tax paid by William or 
Charles. The iron manufacture employs and enriches 
British subjects, but is it of any importance to the state, 
whether the manufacturers live at Birmingham, or Sheffield, 
or both, since they are still within its bounds, and their 
wealth and persons still at its command? Could the Good- 


win Sands be laid dry by banks, and land equal to a large 
country thereby gained to England, and presently filled with 
English inhabitants, would it be right to deprive such in- 
habitants of the common privileges enjoyed by other Eng- 
lishmen, the right of vending their produce in the same 
ports, or of making their own shoes, because a merchant 
or a shoemaker, living on the old land, might fancy it more 
for his advantage to trade or make shoes for them? Would 
this be right, even if the land were gained at the expence 
of the state ? And would it not seem less right, if the charge 
and labour of gaining the additional territory to Britain had 
been borne by the settlers themselves? And would not the 
hardship appear yet greater, if the people of the new country 
should be allowed no representatives in the parliament 
enacting such impositions? 

Now I look on the colonies as so many counties gained 
to Great Britain, and more advantageous to it than if they 
had been gained out of the seas around its coasts, and joined 
to its land: For being in different climates, they afford 
greater variety of produce, and being separated by the 
ocean, they increase much more its shipping and seamen; 
and since they are all included in the British empire, which 
has only extended itself by their means; and the strength 
and wealth of the parts are the strength and wealth of the 
whole; what imports it to the general state, whether a 
merchant, a smith, or a hatter, grow rich in Old or New 
England? And if, through increase of people, two smiths 
are wanted for one employed before, why may not the new 
smith be allowed to live and thrive in the new country, as 
well as the old one in the old? In fine, why should the 
countenance of a state be partially afforded to its people, 


unless it be most in favour of those who have most merit ? 
And if there be any difference, those who have most con- 
tributed to enlarge Britain's empire and commerce, increase 
her strength, her wealth, and the numbers of her people, 
at the risk of their own lives and private fortunes in new 
and strange countries, methinks ought rather to expect some 
preference. With the greatest respect and esteem, I have 
the honour to be 

Your Excellency's most obedient 

and most humble servant, 


180. TO PETER COLLINSON l (P. c.) 

Boston, Dec. 29. 1754 


I wrote a few Lines by a Vessel that went from hence about 
2 Weeks since, acknowledging the Receipt of your several 
favours of July 30, Aug. 6 and 23 and Sept. 18. Sundry 
Affairs have retarded my Return home, but to-morrow I 
purpose to set out. 

I am much oblig'd to you for the favourable Light you 
put me in, to our Proprietor, as mentioned in yours of July 30. 
I know not why he should imagine me not his Friend, since 
I cannot recollect any one Act of mine that could denominate 
me otherwise. On the contrary if to concur with him, so 
far as my little Influence reach'd in all his generous and 
benevolent Designs and Desires of making his Province and 
People flourishing and happy be any Mark of my Respect 
and Dutyful Regard to him, there are many who would be 

1 From the collection of Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan. ED. 
VOL. ill R 


ready to say I could not be suppos'd deficient in such Respect. 
The Truth is I have sought his Interest more than his Favour; 
others perhaps have sought both, and obtain'd at least the 
latter. But in my Opinion great Men are not always best 
serv'd by such as show on all Occasions a blind Attachment 
to them: An Appearance of Impartiality in general gives a 
Man sometimes much more Weight when he would serve 
in particular Instances. I am very thankful to the Society 
for their favourable Reception of my last Paper. I wish 
it had been more worthy of their Attention. I long since 
promis'd you a philosophical Pacquet consisting of many 
Particulars, but as it contains some Oddities and some Novel- 
ties which I have not had time to dress so as to be fit for the 
View of your ingenious Friends, I must defer it a while longer, 
and beg your Excuse. 

As to the State of the Colonies, a pretty full Representa- 
tion of it was drawn up by the Commissioners at Albany, 
and was sent home to the Ministry with the Proceedings. 
However as you may perhaps have not seen it, I send you 
herewith the whole Treaty, and, as I have no other Copy, 
I must beg you would return it after Perusal. 

All the Assemblies in the Colonies have, I suppose, had 
the Union Plan laid before them, but it is not likely, in my 
Opinion, that any of them will act upon it so as to agree to 
it, or to propose any Amendments to it. Every Body cries, 
a Union is absolutely necessary ; but when they come to the 
Manner and Form of the Union, their weak Noddles are 
perfectly distracted. So if ever there be an Union, it must 
be form'd at home by the Ministry and Parliament. I 
doubt not but they will make a good one, and I wish 
it may be done this Winter. I send you withal the Re- 

1755] TO JAMES PARKER 243 

mainder of Douglas's Summaries. He did not live to finish 
his Work. 

My Respects to Mr. Watson, to whom I will write after 
my Return. 

With the Treaty at Albany, I send you a Paper I drew up 
containing the Motives on which the Commissioners at Al- 
bany proceeded in forming their Plan. A Gentleman here 
had a Copy of me to send to Lord Halifax, which if receiv'd 
you need not show his L'd p this ; but may communicate it 
to our Friend Jackson. Some Things in the Plan may 
perhaps appear of too popular a Turn, the Commissioners 
from the 2 popular Governments, having a considerable 
Weight at the Board. When I give the Reasons on which 
such Article was settled as it stands, I would not be under- 
stood as expressing everywhere my own Opinion: For tho* 
I projected the Plan and drew it, I was oblig'd to alter some 
Things contrary to my Judgment or should never have been 
able to carry it through. 

With great Esteem and Affection, I am, 
D r Sir, 

Your most obedient hum le Servant 


181. TO JAMES PARKER 1 (p. c.) 

Philad a March I. 1755 

I am just return'd from a long Journey after near six 
Months' Absence, and find your favour of September 29, 

1 From the collection of Eliot Reed, Esq. There is a Postscript to the 
original letter containing a quotation from Journal des Sfavants, 1676, p. 113. 
This letter was received April 11, and answered June 2. ED. 


by which I have the agreable Advice that you expect to be 
able to remit me something in Smith's Affairs very soon. . . . 
In my last Journey I saw an Instance of a very great 
Quantity of Lightning conducted by a Wire no bigger than 
a common Knitting Needle. It was at Newbury in New 
England where the Spire of the Church Steeple being 70 
foot in height above the Belfrey was split all to pieces and 
thrown about the Street in fragments; from the Bell down 
to the Clock plac'd in the Steeple 20 foot below the Bell 
there was the small wire above mentioned which communi- 
cated the Motion of the Clock to the Hammer striking the 
Hour on the Bell. As far as the Wire extended no Part of 
the Steeple was hurt by the Lightning nor below the Clock 
as far as the Pendulum Rod reached: but from the End of 
the Rod downwards the Lightning rent the steeple surpriz- 
ingly. The Pendulum Rod was about the thickness of a 
small Tobacco Pipe Stem, and conducted the whole with- 
out damage to its own substance except at the End where 
the Lightning was accumulated it appeared melted so much 
as made a small Drop. But the Clock Wire was blown all 
to Smoke and no more of it was left than about an inch and 
half next the Tail of the Hammer and as much joining the 
Clock. Yet this is observable that tho' it was so small as 
not to be sufficient to conduct the Quantity with Safety to 
its own Substance yet it did conduct it so as to secure all 
that part of the Building. Excuse this Scrawl, which I 
have not time to copy fair. I am with much respect, 
Sir, etc. B. FRANKLIN. 

Mr. James Parker 



Philadelphia, March 4, 1755. 


Your kind letter of January 2Oth is but just come to hand, 
and I take this first opportunity of acknowledging the favour. 
It gives me great pleasure to hear, that you got home safe 
and well that day. I thought too much was hazarded, 
when I saw you put off to sea in that very little skiff, tossed 
by every wave. But the call was strong and just, a sick 
parent. I stood on the shore, and looked after you, till I 
could no longer distinguish you, even with my glass; then 
returned to your sister's, praying for your safe passage. 
Towards evening all agreed that you must certainly be 
arrived before that time, the weather having been so favour- 
able; which made me more easy and cheerful, for I had 
been truly concerned for you. 

I left New England slowly, and with great reluctance. 
Short day's journeys, and loitering visits on the road, for 
three or four weeks, manifested my unwillingness to quit 
a country, in which I drew my first breath, spent my earli- 
est and most pleasant days, and had now received so many 
fresh marks of the people's goodness and benevolence, in 
the kind and affectionate treatment I had everywhere met 
with. I almost forgot I had a home, till I was more than 
half way towards it; till I had, one by one, parted with all 

1 Afterwards the wife of William Greene, governor of Rhode Island. 
Printed from "A Collection of the Familiar Letters of Benjamin Franklin," 
Boston, 1833, p. 28. ED. 


my New England friends, and was got into the western bor- 
ders of Connecticut, among mere strangers. Then, like 
an old man, who, having buried all he loved in this world, 
begins to think of heaven, I began to think of and wish for 
home ; and, as I drew nearer, I found the attraction stronger 
and stronger. My diligence and speed increased with my 
impatience. I drove on violently, and made such long 
stretches, that a very few days brought me to my own 
house, and to the arms of my good old wife and children, 
where I remain, thanks to God, at 'present well and 

Persons subject to the hyp complain of the northeast wind, 
as increasing their malady. But since you promised to send 
me kisses in that wind, and I find you as good as your word, 
it is to me the gayest wind that blows, and gives me the 
best spirits. I write this during a northeast storm of snow, 
the greatest we have had this winter. Your favours come 
mixed with the snowy fleeces, which are pure as your virgin 
innocence, white as your lovely bosom, and as cold. But 
let it warm towards some worthy young man, and may 
Heaven bless you both with every kind of happiness. 

I desired Miss Anna Ward l to send you over a little book 
I left with her, for your amusement in that lonely island. 
My respects to your good father, and mother, and sister. 
Let me often hear of your welfare, since it is not likely I 
shall ever again have the pleasure of seeing you. Accept 
mine, and my wife's sincere thanks for the many civilities 
I receive from you and your relations ; and do me the justice 
to believe me, dear girl, your affectionate, faithful friend, 
and humble servant, B. FRANKLIN. 

1 Daughter of Samuel Ward, governor of Rhode Island. ED. 


P. S. My respectful compliments to your good brother 
Ward, and sister; and to the agreeable family of the Wards 
at Newport, when you see them. Adieu. 


Made in Pursuance 0} those made by Mr. Canton, dated 
December 6, 1753; with Explanations, by Benjamin 


Philadelphia, March 14, 1755. 


I. ELECTRIC atmospheres, that flow round non- electric 
bodies, being brought near each other, do not readily 
mix and unite into one atmosphere, but remain separate, 
and repel each other. 

This is plainly seen in suspended cork balls, and other 
bodies electrified. 

II. An electric atmosphere not only repels another elec- 
tric atmosphere, but will also repel the electric matter con- 
tained in the substance of a body approaching it; and, 
without joining or mixing with it, force it to other parts of 
the body that contained it. 

This is shown by some of the following experiments. 

III. Bodies electrified negatively, or deprived of their 
natural quantity of Electricity repel each other, (or at least 
appear to do so, by a mutual receding) as well as those 
electrified positively, or which have electric atmospheres. 

This is shewn by applying the negatively charged wire 

1 From "Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, 
p. 155. Read at the Royal Society, December 18, 1755. ED. 


of a phial to two cork balls, suspended by silk threads, and 
many other experiments. 


Fix a tassel of fifteen or twenty threads, three inches long 
at one end, of a tin prime conductor, (mine is about five feet 
long and four inches diameter) supported by silk lines. 

Let the threads be a little damp, but not wet. 


Pass an excited glass Tube near the other end oj the prime 
conductor, so as to give it some sparks, and the threads will 

Because each thread, as well as the prime-conductor, 
has acquired an electric atmosphere, which repels and is 
repelled by the atmospheres of the other threads : if those 
several atmospheres would readily mix, the threads might 
unite, and hang in the middle of one atmosphere, common 
to them all. 

Rub the tube afresh, and approach the prime-conductor 
therewith, crossways, near that end, but not nigh enough to 
give sparks; and the threads will diverge a little more. 

Because the atmosphere of the prime-conductor is pressed 
by the atmosphere of the excited tube, and driven towards 
the end where the threads are, by which each thread acquires 
more atmosphere. 

Withdraw the tube, and they will close as much. 

They close as much, and no more; because the atmos- 
phere of the glass tube, not having mixed with the atmos- 
phere of the prime conductor, is withdrawn intire, having 
made no addition to, or diminution from it. 


Bring the excited tube under the tujt of threads, and they 
will close a little. 

They close, because the atmosphere of the glass tube 
repels their atmospheres, and drives part of them back on 
the prime conductor. 

Withdraw it, and they will diverge as much. 
For the portion of atmosphere which they had lost, returns 
to them again. 


Excite the glass tube, and approach the prime conductor 
with it, holding it across, near the end opposite to that on 
which the threads hang, at the distance of five or six inches. 
Keep it there a jew seconds, and the threads of the tassels 
will diverge. Withdraw it, and they will close. 

They diverge, because they have received electric atmos- 
pheres from the electric matter before contained in the 
substance of the prime conductor; but which is now re- 
pelled and driven away, by the atmosphere of the glass tube, 
from the parts of the prime conductor opposite and nearest 
to that atmosphere, and forced out upon the surface of the 
prime conductor at its other end, and upon the threads 
hanging thereto. Were it any part of the atmosphere of 
the glass tube that flowed over and along the prime con- 
ductor to the threads, and gave them atmospheres (as is 
the case when a spark is given to the prime conductor from 
the glass tube), such part of the tube's atmosphere would 
have remained, and the threads continue to diverge; but 
they close on withdrawing the tube, because the tube takes 
with it all its own atmosphere, and the electric matter, which 
had been driven out of the substance of the prime conductor, 


and formed atmospheres round the threads, is thereby per- 
mitted to return to its place. 

Take a spark from the prime conductor near the threads, 
when they are diverged as before, and they will close. 

For by so doing you take away their atmospheres, com- 
posed of the electric matter driven out of the substance of 
the prime conductor, as aforesaid, by the repellency of the 
atmosphere of the glass tube. By taking this spark you 
rob the prime conductor of part of its natural quantity of 
the electric matter; which part so taken is not supplied by 
the glass tube, for when that is afterwards withdrawn, it 
takes with it its whole atmosphere, and leaves the prime 
conductor electrised negatively, as appears by the next 

Then withdraw the tube, and they will open again. 

For now the electric matter in the prime conductor re- 
turning to its equilibrium, or equal diffusion, in all parts of 
its substance, and the prime conductor having lost some of 
its natural quantity, the threads connected with it lose part 
of theirs, and so are electrised negatively, and therefore 
repel each other, by Pr. III. 

Approach the prime conductor with the tube near the same 
place as at first, and they will close again. 

Because the part of their natural quantity of electric 
fluid, which they had lost, is now restored to them again, 
by repulsion of the glass tube forcing that fluid to them 
from other parts of the prime conductor; so they are now 
again in their natural state. 

Withdraw it, and they will open again. 

For what had been restored to them, is now taken from 


them again, flowing back into the prime conductor, and 
leaving them once more electrised negatively. 

Bring the excited tube under the threads, and they will 
diverge more. 

Because more of their natural quantity is driven from 
them into the prime conductor, and thereby their negative 
Electricity increased. 


The prime conductor not being electrified, bring the excited 
tube under the tassel, and the threads will diverge. 

Part of their natural quantity is thereby driven out of 
them into the prime conductor, and they become negatively 
electrised, and therefore repel each other. 

Keeping the tube in the same place with one hand, attempt 
to touch the threads with the finger of the other hand, and 
they will recede from the finger. 

Because the finger being plunged into the atmosphere 
of the glass tube, as well as the threads, part of its natural 
quantity is driven back through the hand and body, by that 
atmosphere, and the finger becomes, as well as the threads, 
negatively electrised, and so repels, and is repelled by them. 
To confirm this, hold a slender light lock of cotton, two or 
three inches long, near a prime conductor, that is electrified 
by a glass globe or tube. You will see the cotton stretch 
itself out towards the prime conductor. Attempt to touch 
it with the finger of the other hand, and it will be repelled 
by the finger. Approach it with a positively charged wire 
of a bottle, and it will fly to the wire. Bring it near a nega- 
tively charged wire of a bottle, it will recede from that wire 


in the same manner that it did from the finger ; which demon- 
strates the finger to be negatively electrised, as well as the 
lock of cotton so situated. 


Philadelphia, March 18, 1755. 


I send you enclosed a paper containing some new experi- 
ments I have made, in pursuance of those by Mr Canton, 
that are printed with my last letters. I hope these, with 
my explanation of them, will afford you some entertainment. 2 

In answer to your several enquiries. The tubes and 
globes we use here, are chiefly made here. The glass has 
a greenish cast, but is clear and hard, and, I think, better 
for electrical experiments than the white glass of London, 
which is not so hard. There are certainly great differences 
in glass. A white globe I had made here some years since, 
would never, by any means, be excited. Two of my friends 
tried it, as well as myself, without success. At length, 
putting it on an electric stand, a chain from the prime con- 
ductor being in contact with it, I found it had the proper- 
ties of a non- electric ; for I could draw sparks from any 
part of it, though it was very clean and dry. 

All I know of Domien is, that by his own account he was 
a native of Transylvania, of Tartar descent, but a priest of 
the Greek Church; he spoke and wrote Latin very readily 

1 From "Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, 
p. 319. Dr. John Lining (1708-1760) practised medicine in Charleston, 
and wrote a "History of Yellow Fever" (Charleston, 1753). ED. 

2 See p. 247, for the paper here mentioned. ED. 

1755] TO JOHN- LINING 253 

and correctly. He set out from his own country with an 
intention of going round the world, as much as possible by 
land. He travelled through Germany, France, and Hol- 
land, to England. Resided some time at Oxford. From 
England he came to Maryland; thence went to New- Eng- 
land; returned by land to Philadelphia; and from hence 
travelled through Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina 
to you. He thought it might be of service to him, in his 
travels, to know something of Electricity. I taught him the 
use of the tube ; how to charge the Leyden phial, and some 
other experiments. He wrote to me from Charles-Town, 
that he had lived eight hundred miles upon Electricity; it 
had been meat, drink, and clothing to him. His last letter 
to me was, I think, from Jamaica, desiring me to send the 
tubes you mention, to meet him at the Havanah, from 
whence he expected to get a passage to La Vera Cruz; de- 
signed travelling over land through Mexico to Acapulco; 
thence to get a passage to Manilla, and so through China, 
India, Persia, and Turkey, home to his own country; pro- 
posing to support himself chiefly by Electricity. A strange 
project ! But he was, as you observe, a very singular char- 
acter. I was sorry the tubes did not get to the Havanah 
in time for him : If they are still in being, please to send for 
them, and accept of them. What became of him after- 
wards, I have never heard. He promised to write to me as 
often as he could on his journey, and as soon as he should 
get home after finishing his tour. It is now seven years 
since he was here. If he is still in New Spain, as you 
imagine from that loose report, I suppose it must be that 
they confine him there, and prevent his writing: but I think 
it more likely that he may be dead. 


The questions you ask about the pores of glass, I cannot 
answer otherwise, than that I know nothing of their nature; 
and suppositions, however ingenious, are often mere mis- 
takes. My hypothesis, that they were smaller near the 
middle of the glass, too small to admit the passage of Elec- 
tricity, which could pass through the surface till it came 
near the middle, was certainly wrong: For soon after I 
had written that letter, I did, in order to confirm the hy- 
pothesis, (which indeed I ought to have done before I wrote 
it,) make an experiment. I ground away five- sixths of the 
thickness of the glass, from the side of one of my phials, 
expecting that the supposed denser part being so removed, 
the electric fluid might come through the remainder of the 
glass, which I had imagined more open; but I found myself 
mistaken. The bottle charged as well after the grinding 
as before. I am now, as much as ever, at a loss to know how 
or where the quantity of electric fluid, on the positive side 
of the glass, is disposed of. 

As to the difference of conductors, there is not only this, 
that some will conduct Electricity in small quantities, and 
yet do not conduct it fast enough to produce the shock; 
but even among those that will conduct a shock, there are 
some that do it better than others. Mr. Kinnersley has 
found, by a very good experiment, that when the charge of 
a bottle hath an opportunity of passing two ways, i.e., strait 
through a trough of water ten feet long, and six inches square, 
or round about through twenty feet of wire, it passes through 
the wire, and not through the water, though that is the 
shortest course ; the wire being the better conductor. When 
the wire is taken away, it passes through the water, as may 
be felt by a hand plunged in the water ; but it cannot be felt 

1755] TO JOHN LINING 255 

in the water when the wire is used at the same time. Thus, 
though a small vial containing water will give a smart shock, 
one containing the same quantity of mercury will give one 
much stronger, the mercury being the better conductor; 
while one containing oil only, will scarce give any shock 
at all. 

Your question, how I came first to think of proposing 
the experiment of drawing down the lightning, in order to 
ascertain its sameness with the electric fluid, I cannot answer 
better than by giving you an extract from the minutes I used 
to keep of the experiments I made, with memorandums of 
such as I purposed to make, the reasons for making them, 
and the observations that arose upon them, from which 
minutes my letters were afterwards drawn. By this ex- 
tract you will see, that the thought was not so much "an 
out-of-the-way one," but that it might have occurred to any 

"November 7, 1749. Electrical fluid agrees with light- 
ning in these particulars, i. Giving light. 2. Colour of 
the light. 3. Crooked direction. 4. Swift motion. 5. Be- 
ing conducted by metals. 6. Crack or noise in explod- 
ing. 7. Subsisting in water or ice. 8. Rending bodies 
it passes through. 9. Destroying animals. 10. Melting 
metals, n. Firing inflammable substances. 12. Sul- 
phureous smell. The electric fluid is attracted by points. 
We do not know whether this property is in lightning. But 
since they agree in all particulars wherein we can already 
compare them, is it not probable they agree likewise in this ? 
Let the experiment be made." 

I wish I could give you any satisfaction in the article of 
clouds. I am still at a loss about the manner in which they 


become charged with Electricity; no hypothesis I have yet 
formed perfectly satisfying me. Some time since, I heated 
very hot a brass plate, two feet square, and placed it on an 
electric stand. From the plate a wire extended horizon- 
tally four or five feet, and, at the end of it, hung, by linnen 
threads, a pair of cork balls. I then repeatedly sprinkled 
water over the plate, that it might be raised from it in vapour, 
hoping that if the vapour either carried off the electricity 
of the plate, or left behind it that of the water, (one of which 
I supposed it must do, if, like the clouds, it became electrised 
itself, either positively or negatively) I should perceive and 
determine it by the separation of the balls, and by finding 
whether they were positive or negative; but no alteration 
was made at all, nor could I perceive that the steam was 
itself electrised, though I have still some suspicion that the 
steam was not fully examined, and I think the experiment 
should be repeated. Whether the first state of electrised 
clouds is positive or negative, if I could find the cause of that, 
I should be at no loss about the other, for either is easily 
deduced from the other, as one state is easily produced by 
the other. A strongly positive cloud may drive out of a 
neighbouring cloud much of its natural quantity of the elec- 
tric fluid, and, passing by it, leave it in a negative state. In 
the same way, a strongly negative cloud may occasion a 
neighbouring cloud to draw into itself from others an addi- 
tional quantity, and, passing by it, leave it in a positive 
state. How these effects may be produced, you will easily 
conceive, on perusing and considering the experiments in 
the enclosed paper : And from them too it appears probable, 
that every change from positive to negative, and from nega- 
tive to positive, that, during a thunder gust, we see in the 

1755] TO JOHN LINING 257 

cork-balls annexed to the apparatus, is not owing to the 
presence of clouds in the same state, but often to the absence 
of positive or negative clouds, that, having just passed, 
leave the rod in the opposite state. 

The knocking down of the six men was performed with 
two of my large jarrs not fully charged. I laid one end of 
my discharging rod upon the head of the first; he laid his 
hand on the head of the second ; the second his hand on the 
head of the third, and so to the last, who held, in his hand, 
the chain that was connected with the outside of the jarrs. 
When they were thus placed, I applied the other end of my 
rod to the prime-conductor, and they all dropt together. 
When they got up, they all declared they had not felt any 
stroke, and wondered how they came to fall; nor did any 
of them either hear the crack, or see the light of it. You 
suppose it a dangerous experiment ; but I had once suffered 
the same myself, receiving, by accident, an equal stroke 
through my head, that struck me down, without hurting me : 
And I had seen a young woman, that was about to be elec- 
trified through the feet, (for some indisposition) receive a 
greater charge through the head, by inadvertently stooping 
forward to look at the placing of her feet, till her forehead 
(as she was very tall) came too near my prime-conductor: 
She dropt, but instantly got up again, complaining of 
nothing. A person so struck, sinks down doubled, or folded 
together as it were, the joints losing their strength and stiff- 
ness at once, so that he drops on the spot where he stood, 
instantly, and there is no previous staggering, nor does he 
ever fall lengthwise. Too great a charge might, indeed, 
kill a man, but I have not yet seen any hurt done by it. It 
would certainly, as you observe, be the easiest of all deaths. 
VOL. in s 


The experiment you have heard so imperfect an account 
of, is merely this. I electrified a silver pint cann, on an elec- 
tric stand, and then lowered into it a cork ball, of about an 
inch diameter, hanging by a silk string, till the cork touched 
the bottom of the cann. The cork was not attracted to the 
inside of the cann, as it would have been to the outside, and 
though it touched the bottom, yet, when drawn out, it was 
not found to be electrified by that touch, as it would have 
been by touching the outside. The fact is singular. You 
require the reason; I do not know it. Perhaps you may 
discover it, and then you will be so good as to communi- 
cate it to me. 1 I find a frank acknowledgement of one's 
ignorance is not only the easiest way to get rid of a difficulty, 
but the likeliest way to obtain information, and therefore 
I practise it : I think it an honest policy. Those who affect 
to be thought to know every thing, and so undertake to ex- 
plain every thing, often remain long ignorant of many things 
that others could and would instruct them in, if they appeared 
less conceited. 

The treatment your friend has met with is so common, 
that no man who knows what the world is, and ever has been, 
should expect to escape it. There are every where a number 
of people, who, being totally destitute of any inventive fac- 
ulty themselves, do not readily conceive that others may 
possess it: They think of inventions as of miracles; there 
might be such formerly, but they are ceased. With these, 
every one who offers a new invention is deem'd a pretender : 

1 Mr. F. has since thought, that, possibly, the mutual repulsion of the 
inner opposite sides of the electrified cann, may prevent the accumulating an 
electric atmosphere upon them, and occasion it to stand chiefly on the out- 
side. But recommends it to the farther examination of the curious. F. 

1755] TO JOHN LINING 259 

He had it from some other country, or from some book : A 
man of their own acquaintance; one who has no more sense 
than themselves, could not possibly, in their opinion, have 
been the inventer of any thing. They are confirmed, too, 
in these sentiments, by frequent instances of pretensions 
to invention, which vanity is daily producing. That vanity 
too, though an incitement to invention, is, at the same 
time, the pest of inventors. Jealousy and Envy deny 
the merit or the novelty of your invention; but Vanity, 
when the novelty and merit are established, claims it for its 
own. The smaller your invention is, the more mortifica- 
tion you receive in having the credit of it disputed with you 
by a rival, whom the jealousy and envy of others are ready 
to support against you, at least so far as to make the point 
doubtful. It is not in itself of importance enough for a dis- 
pute; no one would think your proofs and reasons worth 
their attention : And yet if you do not dispute the point, and 
demonstrate your right, you not only lose the credit of being 
in that instance ingenious, but you suffer the disgrace of not 
being ingenuous; not only of being a plagiary, but of being 
a plagiary for trifles. Had the invention been greater it 
would have disgraced you less ; for men have not so contempt- 
ible an idea of him that robs for gold on the highway, as 
of him that can pick pockets for half-pence and farthings. 
Thus, through Envy, Jealousy, and the Vanity of competi- 
tors for Fame, the origin of many of the most extraordinary 
inventions, though produced within but a few centuries 
past, is involved in doubt and uncertainty. We scarce 
know to whom we are indebted for the compass, and for 
spectacles, nor have even paper and printing, that record 
every thing else, been able to preserve with certainty the 


name and reputation of their inventors. One would not, 
therefore, of all faculties or qualities of the mind, wish, for 
a friend, or a child, that he should have that of invention. 
For his attempts to benefit mankind in that way, however 
well imagined, if they do not succeed, expose him, though 
very unjustly, to general ridicule and contempt; and, if 
they do succeed, to envy, robbery, and abuse. 

/ am, &c. 


185. TO JAMES WRIGHT l (P. c.) 

Philada, June 26, 1755. 


I am glad to learn that the Flour is mostly if not all got 
up to Conegocheeg, & that you have so good a Prospect of 
getting Waggons to forward it to Wills's Creek. 

The Governor has sent down the Bill and proposes to 
pass it with about 30 Amendments, of which one is that the 
Commissioners named in the Act to dispose of the 5000 
for Roads, Indian Expenses &c shall lay out none of the 
money without his Consent. Another that the 10000 given 
to General Braddock with the 5000 be sunk in 5 years. 
Another that the money arising from the Excise during 
the remaining 5 years be not disposed of without the Gov- 
ernor's Consent. Another that the Treasurer S. Preston 
Moore, be named in the Bill to continue till another be 
appointed by Act of Assembly &c &c &c. The House ad- 
here to their Bill & will send it up again tho' without any 

1 The original letter is owned by Mr. J. Ewing Mifflin, of Philadelphia. 
Franklin's draft of the letter is in the collection of Mr. Adrian H. Joline, of 
New York. See letter to Susanna Wright, July II, 1752. ED. 


Hopes of its Passing. They are pleased however to find 
that the Mask is now forced off and that not one word is 
mentioned of King's Instructions which have long been 
made a Pretense to harass us, but the Governor is willing 
for a Bill to make Paper money without a reclaiming Clause 
&c provided we comply with the Proprietary Instructions, 
and agree not to chuse our own Officers nor make use of our 
own money without his Consent We should not have had 
this Clearing up of Things, if we had not sent him the orig- 
inal Royal Approbation of Gov. Thomas's Act, which 
deprived him of all the old Subterfuges My Love to all 
the Good Folks on both sides the River. 

I am with sincere Esteem & Affection Dr. Sir 
Your most obedient humble Servant 


I shall be glad to hear of Johnny's success. 


Monday morning. 

I thought from the first that your proposal of calling the 
several Townships together was very judicious. I was only 
at a Loss how to get them called by some Appearance of 
Authority. On the Road from your House hither, I con- 
sidered that at the Court of Oyer & Terminer here, there 
would probably be Constables from most of the Townships 
and if the Chief Justice could be prevailed on to recommend 

1 From the collection of Mr. J. Ewing Mifflin. The letter is undated, but 
it must have been written in June, 1/55. ED. 


it from the Bench, that the Constables should immediately 
call the Inhabitants of their respective Townships together, 
perhaps the business might by that means be effectually done. 
I know not whether he will think a Person in his Station, 
can in Court regularly intermeddle in such Affairs but I 
shall endeavour to persuade him to it, as strict Forms, ought, 
in my opinion be disregarded in Cases of Necessity 

The Dutche Advertisement l is composing and will be 
printed in two or three Hours, as Mr. Dunlap tells me. I 
have taken the liberty of detaining your Servant so long, 
after inquiring & being informed by him that his immediate 
Return was not absolutely necessary. I am with the great- 
est Esteem and Respect Mm 

Your most humb'l Serv't 


187. TO PETER COLLINSON 2 (p. c.) 

Philad* June 26. 1755 

Mr. Bartram brings a Box to my House which has a little 
Vacancy in it, so I put in my Philosophical Pacquet, which 
I long since intended to send you, but one thing or other has 
prevented. I would not have any Part of it printed, unless 
you should think that printing the Papers relating to Whirl- 
winds and Water Spouts together with a Collection of all 
Accounts of Spouts and Whirlwinds that have been hitherto 
publish'd, might excite the Curiosity of Naturalists and the 
Attention of Shipmasters and other Travellers, so as to occa- 

1 Advertisement for wagons for Braddock's army. ED. 

2 From the private collection of Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan. ED. 


sion more accurate Observations of the Phaenomena and 
produce more particular Accounts, tending to a thorough 
Explanation. If you should be of that Opinion, I have no 
Objection to the Making that Use of the Papers on that 
Subject ; but the rest are only for your private Amusement, 
and when perused I must request you to return them. 

I also send you a few sheets of Paper made of the Asbestos. 
I am sorry it is so tender. I made some formerly that was 
much stronger. Please to present a Sheet of it to your noble 
President, 1 if he will be so good as to accept such a Trifle. 

I enclose you a second Bill for 25 Sterling on Account 
of the Library Company. 

I must desire you to send us Johnson's Dictionary, and 
one for the Academy. The old Accounts of the first Set- 
tlem* of the Colonies are very Curious, and very acceptable 
to the Library Company, who direct me to return you their 
hearty Thanks for your kindness in sparing them to the 
Library. The Box not being full, I have put in a few more 
of our Candles which I recommend for your particular 
Use when you have Occasion to read or write by Night; 
they give a whiter Flame than that of an other kind of Candle, 
and the Light is more like Daylight than any other Light I 
know; besides they need little or no Snuffing, and grease 
nothing. There is still a little Vacancy at the End of the 
Box, so I'll put in a few Cakes of American Soap made of 
Myrtle Wax, said to be the best Soap in the World for Shav- 
ing or Washing fine Linnens etc. Mrs. Franklin requests 
your Daughter would be so good as to accept 3 or 4 Cakes 
of it, to wash your Grandson's finest Things with. 

In your Gentleman's Magazine for February 1755 I see 

1 Sir John Pringle, elected November 30, 1752. ED. 


a Letter from R. Brooke l of Maryland mentioning an 
American Animal which he says he believes had not been 
seen or described in Europe. I imagine it to be the same 
that in New England is called a Woodchuck or Monack. 
When I was on my Journey in that Country last Winter 
one of them was killed in the Garden of an old Inn I put up 
at. Having never seen one of them before I immediately 
took some Notes towards a Description of it, to show our 
Friend Bartram, who tells me it is what we here call a 
Ground hog. I send you my Notes enclos'd. 

I am endeavouring to Answer Dr. Parsons' s Request 
relating to the Indian Names of the Cardinal Numbers. 2 
Please to give the enclos'd concerning an extraordinary 
Worm bred in a Woman's Liver to Dr. Clephane. 3 

I hope you have got the Remainder of Douglas. I know 
I have sent it but forget by whom. 

I have before me your Account dated May 2, 1754; in 
it I am charged with Dr. Blair's Chronology and Binding 
2. 9. o. As that Book was for the Academy, please to 
charge the Trustees of the Academy with it, and take it out 
of my Account, if there is, as I suppose there is, a Ballance 
of theirs in your Hands ; if not, let it stand in my Ace' and 
I will charge them. 

I send you the Hospital Book, and our late Votes. In 
yours of Aug. 4 you express your Concern that such trifling 

1 From R. Brooke, M.D., to J. Bevis, M.D., October 15, 1754, concerning 
the ground hog, called by the Indians Aquaquisquis. ED. 

2 James Parsons (1705-1770), F.R.S. and F.S.A., author of "Remains 
of Japhet ; being Historical Enquiries into the Affinity and Origin of the 
European Languages," London, 1 767. ED. 

8 Dr. John Clephane (died 1758), physician to St. George's Hospital. 


Punctilios in our Publick Affairs should obstruct necessary 
Measures. You will see more of the same Trifling in these 
Votes on both sides. I am heartily sick of our present 
Situation; I like neither the Governor's Conduct, nor the 
Assembly's; and having some Share in the Confidence of 
both, I have endeavour'd to reconcile 'em but in vain, and 
between 'em they make me very uneasy. I was chosen 
last Year in my Absence and was not at the Winter Sitting 
when the House sent home that Address to the King, which 
I am afraid was both ill-judg'd and ill-tim'd. If my being 
able now and then to influence a good Measure did not 
keep up my Spirits I should be ready to swear never to serve 
again as an Assembly Man, since both Sides expect more 
from me than they ought, and blame me sometimes for not 
doing what I am not able to do, as well as for not prevent- 
ing what was not in my Power to prevent. The Assembly 
ride restive ; and the Governor tho' he spurs with both heels, 
at the same time reins-in with both hands, so that the Publick 
Business can never move forward, and he remains like St. 
George on the Sign, Always a Horseback and never going 
on. Did you never hear this old Catch? 

Their was a mad Man He had a mad Wife, 
And three mad Sons beside ; 
And they all got upon a mad Horse 
And madly they did ride. 

'Tis a Compendium of our Proceedings and may save you 
the Trouble of reading them. 

There is one Mr. Hazard, 1 who, happening to see last 
Fall a Paper of mine on the Means of settling a new Colony 
westward of Pensilvania (drawn up to divert the Connecti- 

1 Samuel Hazard (1714-1758), a merchant of Philadelphia. ED. 


cut Emigrants from their design of Invading this Province 
and so induce them to go where they would be less injurious 
and more useful) and picking out something farther from me 
in Conversation, has publish'd a Scheme for that purpose 
in my Absence, wherein he has added some Things and left 
out others, and now (like your Fire-hearth Man) calls it his 
own Project. He aims at great Matters for himself, hoping 
to become a Proprietor like Mr. Penn etc, and has got, they 
say, a great Number of Settlers engaged to go with him, if he 
can get a grant of the Land from the Crown. It is certain 
that People enough may be had, to make a strong English 
Settlement or two in those Parts. I wish to see it done, and 
am almost indifferent how or by whom it is done; yet I 
think this Man not the fittest in the World to conduct such 
an Affair. I hear he intends soon for England. 

Mr. Bird, 1 I find, is of Opinion that it is impracticable to 
mend my broken Thermometer. The Tube was whole, 
and only the Ball broke. I got a thin Copper Ball nicely 
made, and fix'd to the Tube, with a Screw Plug entering the 
Ball at the Bottom, by means of which Screw going into the 
Cavity of the Ball, more or less, among the Mercury, I hoped 
to lessen or enlarge the Cavity at Pleasure, and by that 
Means find the true Quantity of Mercury it ought to contain, 
to rise and fall exactly with the others in the same Tempera- 
ture of Air etc. 

I only tell you this, that you and Mr. Bird may divert 
yourselves with laughing at me. I was much pleas 'd with 
my Project, but I find Difficulties in the Execution which I 
did not foresee tho' they must occur to him immediately. 

1 John Bird (1709-1776), mechanical instrument maker, and coadjutor of 
Bradley. ED. 

1755] TO PETER COLLINSOtf 267 

Our Academy goes on very well. Our Friend Smith 
will be very serviceable there. We have drawn our first 
Lottery, and are engag'd in a second, as you will see by our 
Papers. Mr. Smith will write fully about the Charity 
Schools, which I think cannot fail of Success, if suitable 
Funds are provided. 

I purpose to write to the ingenious Mr. Canton on his very 
curious Experiment annext to my last Paper. I am oblig'd 
to him for the Kindness you mention. It is a great Pleasure 
to me that his Observations evince the various State of the 
Clouds (as to positive and negative Electricity) as well as 
mine. I was afraid of being thought out of my Senses. 

I hope the Plan of Union which you express your Appro- 
bation of, or something like it, will take Place and be estab- 
lish'd by the King and Parliament. 'Till it is done never 
expect to see an American War carried on as it ought to be, 
nor Indian Affairs properly managed. 

I shall be glad to see Dr. MitchePs Map and will endeav- 
our to sell some for him if he sends them. 

The Heirs of our Friend Logan have honourably settled 
the Library agreable to their Father's Intention. I am one 
of the Trustees. The Books are now plac'd in the Library 
House he built and gave for that purpose. They deserve 
Praise for their Conduct; for some Children would have 
taken Advantage of the Settlement not being perfected by 
the Father, and refus'd to comply with it. 

The Library Company will be glad to have Murray's Treatise 
of Ship- Building. We have the three first Vol s of Shack- 
ford. The new Catalogue is now in the Press which I will 
send you as soon as finish'd. I do not remember that you 
have sent any of the Reviews, but will enquire. 


I send you ten of my Fireplace Pieces, as you desire, which 
please to accept: and when Mr. Harris's Improvements 
come out please to communicate them to me. 

I saw our Friend Elliot l in my late New England Journey. 
He is very well, and still studying Improvements in Hus- 

You are undoubtedly right in your Opinion that Niagara 
should be secur'd. Measures are now taking for that pur- 
pose of which no doubt you have already had Advices. 

I will some Day muster up all the Papers and Letters I 
have relating to Swain's fruitless Expeditions and send them 
to you. 

I like much your Proposal of setting some Person to write 
the History of this Colony; but a suitable Hand who has 
Leisure is hard to find. 

Thus, my dear Friend, I have run thro' all your late 
Letters, answering every particular that requires an Answer. 
And now have only to request you would send my Wife 
Sattin sufficient for a Gown, somewhat darker than the 
enclos'd Pattern; which concludes this long Epistle from 
Your affectionate Friend 


Capt. Shirley I hear is going this Minute, so am prevented 
writing to my other London Friends, but hope to do it per 
Capt. Young who sails in a few Days. 

1 Jared Eliot. ED. 



Philadelphia, June 29, 1755. 


You desire my opinion of Pere Beccaria's Italian book. 2 
I have read it with much pleasure, and think it one of the 
best pieces on the subject that I have seen in any language. 
Yet as to the article of water-spouts, I am not at present of 
his sentiments; though I must own with you, that he has 
handled it very ingeniously. Mr Cottinson has my opinon 
of whirlwinds and water-spouts at large, written some time 
since. I know not whether they will be published; if not, 
I will get them transcribed for your perusal. It does not 
appear to me that Pere Beccaria doubts of the absolute im- 
permeability 0} glass in the sense I meant it ; for the instances 
he gives of holes made through glass by the electric stroke, 
are such as we have all experienced, and only shew, that the 
electric fluid could not pass without making a hole. In the 
same manner we say, glass is impermeable to water, and yet 
a stream from a fire-engine will force through the strongest 
panes of a window. As to the effect of points in drawing 
the electric matter from the clouds, and thereby securing 
buildings, &c. which, you say, he seems to doubt, I must 
own I think he only speaks modestly and judiciously. 

1 From "Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, 
p. 161. This letter was read at the Royal Society, December 18, 1755. ED. 

2 This work is written conformable to Mr Franklin's theory, upon artificial 
and natural Electricity, which compose the two parts of it. It was printed in 
Italian, at Turin, in 410. 1753 ; between the two parts is a letter to the Abbe 
Nollet, in defence of Mr Franklin's system.^- J. B[EVIS]. 


I find I have been but partly understood in that matter. 
I have mentioned it in several of my letters, and except once, 
always in the alternative, viz. that pointed rods erected on 
buildings, and communicating with the moist earth, would 
either prevent a stroke, or, if not prevented, would conduct 
it, so as that the building should suffer no damage. Yet 
whenever my opinion is examined in Europe, nothing is 
considered but the probability of those rods preventing a 
stroke or explosion, which is only a part of the use I pro- 
posed for them ; and the other part, their conducting a stroke, 
which they may happen not to prevent, seems to be totally 
forgotten, though of equal importance and advantage. 

I thank you for communicating M. de Buffon's relation 
of the effect of lightning at Dijon, on the ;th of June last. In 
return, give me leave to relate an instance I lately saw of the 
same kind. Being in the town of Newbury in New-Eng- 
land, in November last, I was shewn the effect of lightning 
on their church, which had been struck a few months before. 
The steeple was a square tower of wood, reaching seventy 
feet up from the ground to the place where the bell hung, 
over which rose a taper spire, of wood likewise, reaching 
seventy feet higher, to the vane of the weather- cock. Near 
the bell was fixed an iron hammer to strike the hours; and 
from the tail of the hammer a wire went down through a 
small gimlet-hole in the floor that the bell stood upon, and 
through a second floor in like manner; then horizontally 
under and near the plaistered cieling of that second floor, 
till it came near a plaistered wall; then down by the side of 
that wall to a clock, which stood about twenty feet below 
the bell. The wire was not bigger than a common knitting 
needle. The spire was split all to pieces by the lightning, 


and the parts flung in all directions over the square in which 
the church stood, so that nothing remained above the bell. 

The lightning passed between the hammer and the clock 
in the above-mentioned wire, without hurting either of the 
floors, or having any effect upon them, (except making the 
gimlet-holes, through which the wire passed, a little bigger,) 
and without hurting the plaistered wall, or any part of the 
building, so far as the aforesaid wire and the pendulum wire 
of the clock extended; which latter wire was about the 
thickness of a goose-quill. From the end of the pendulum, 
down quite to the ground, the building was exceedingly rent 
and damaged, and some stones in the foundation-wall torn 
out, and thrown to the distance of twenty or thirty feet. No 
part of the afore-mentioned long small wire, between the 
clock and the hammer, could be found, except about two 
inches that hung to the tail of the hammer, and about as much 
that was fastened to the clock ; the rest being exploded, and 
its particles dissipated in smoke and air, as gunpowder is by 
common fire, and had only left a black smutty track on the 
plaistering, three or four inches broad, darkest in the middle, 
and fainter towards the edges, all along the deling, under 
which it passed, and down the wall. These were the effects 
and appearances; on which I would only make the few 
following remarks, viz. 

1. That lightning, in its passage through a building, will 
leave wood to pass as far as it can in metal, and not enter the 
wood again till the conductor of metal ceases. 

And the same I have observed in other instances, as to 
walls of brick or stone. 

2. The quantity of lightning that passed through this 
steeple must have been very great, by its effects on the lofty 


spire above the bell, and on the square tower, all below the 
end of the clock pendulum. 

3. Great as this quantity was, it was conducted by a 
small wire and a clock pendulum, without the least damage 
to the building so far as they extended. 

4. The pendulum rod, being of a sufficient thickness, 
conducted the lightning without damage to itself; but the 
small wire was utterly destroyed. 

5. Though the small wire was itself destroyed, yet it had 
conducted the lightning with safety to the building. 

6. And from the whole it seems probable, that if even 
such a small wire had been extended from the spindle of the 
vane to the earth, before the storm, no damage would have 
been done to the steeple by that stroke of lightning, though 
the wire itself had been destroyed. 


189. TO JAMES WRIGHT i (p. c.) 

Philada, July 3, 175 5. 


Before this reaches you you will have heard that the 
House is adjourned. A Bill to strike 10,000 Exchange 
Money is pass'd & nothing else done. I spoke several times 
to the Speaker and Committee about sending you some 
Money by the Return of the Members ; but Mr. McConaughy 
slipt away without Leave and so without their knowledge; 
and afterwards the business slipt their Memory. I have 
now communicated your last Letter, and 200^ is put into 
my Hand to send you. My wife goes tomorrow to Lan- 

1 From the original in the possession of Mr. J. Ewing Mifflin. ED. 




caster & will cany it so far. Let me know how much more 
you will want & it shall be sent by next Post. 

The Speaker has not returned me your Letter so I may 
possibly forget some Particulars I ought to answer. I am 
sorry to hear of the Mischief on the Frontier, but we must 
expect more of that kind. We have just heard that the 
French Fleet with 4000 Land Forces are block'd up in 
Louisburg by Adm. Boscawen, which I hope may prove true. 
My love to your good Family in which my Wife joins, as 
well as to yourself, with 

Your affectionate Friend 
and Servant 



Philadelphia, Aug. 25, 1755. 


As you have my former papers on Whirlwinds, &c., I 
now send you an account of one which I had lately an oppor- 
tunity of seeing and examining myself. 

Being in Maryland, riding with Colonel Tasker, and some 
other gentlemen to his country-seat, where I and my son 
were entertained by that amiable and worthy man with great 
hospitality and kindness, we saw in the vale below us, a 
small whirlwind beginning in the road, and shewing itself 
by the dust it raised and contained. It appeared in the form 
of a sugar-loaf, spinning on its point, moving up the hill 
towards us, and enlarging as it came forward. When it 

1 From "Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, 
P- 356. 

VOL. Ill T 


passed by us, its smaller part near the ground, appeared no 
bigger than a common barrel, but widening upwards, it 
seemed, at 40 or 50 feet high, to be 20 or 30 feet in diameter. 
The rest of the company stood looking after it, but my 
curiosity being stronger, I followed it, riding close by its 
side, and observed its licking up, in its progress, all the dust 
that was under its smaller part. As it is a common opinion 
that a shot, fired through a water-spout, will break it, I 
tried to break this little whirlwind, by striking my whip 
frequently through it, but without any effect. Soon after, 
it quitted the road and took into the woods, growing every 
moment larger and stronger, raising, instead of dust, the old 
dry leaves with which the ground was thick covered, and 
making a great noise with them and the branches of the trees, 
bending some tall trees round in a circle swiftly and very 
surprizingly, though the progressive motion of the whirl was 
not so swift but that a man on foot might have kept pace 
with it; but the circular motion was amazingly rapid. By 
the leaves it was now filled with, I could plainly perceive 
that the current of air they were driven by, moved upwards 
in a spiral line; and when I saw the trunks and bodies of 
large trees invelop'd in the passing whirl, which continued 
intire after it had left them I no longer wondered that my 
whip had no effect on it in its smaller state. I accompanied 
it about three quarters of a mile, till some limbs of dead 
trees, broken off by the whirl, flying about and falling near 
me, made me more apprehensive of danger; and then I 
stopped, looking at the top of it as it went on, which was 
visible, by means of the leaves contained in it, for a very 
great height above the trees. Many of the leaves, as they 
got loose from the upper and widest part, were scattered in 


the wind; but so great was their height in the air, that they 
appeared no bigger than flies. My son, who was by this 
time come up with me, followed the whirlwind till it left 
the woods, and crossed an old tobacco- field, where, finding 
neither dust nor leaves to take up, it gradually became 
invisible below as it went away over that field. The course 
of the general wind then blowing was along with us as we 
travelled, and the progressive motion of the whirlwind was 
in a direction nearly opposite, though it did not keep a 
strait line, nor was its progressive motion uniform, it 
making little sallies on either hand as it went, proceeding 
sometimes faster and sometimes slower, and seeming some- 
times for a few seconds almost stationary, then starting 
forward pretty fast again. When we rejoined the company, 
they were admiring the vast height of the leaves now brought 
by the common wind, over our heads. These leaves accom- 
panied us as we travelled, some falling now and then round 
about us, and some not reaching the ground till we had gone 
near three miles from the place where we first saw the whirl- 
wind begin. Upon my asking Colonel Tasker if such whirl- 
winds were common in Maryland, he answered pleasantly, 
"No, not at all common; but we got this on purpose to treat 
Mr. Franklin." And a very high treat it was, to 

Dear Sir, 
Your affectionate friend and humble servant, 


191. TO PETER COLLINSON l (p. c.) 

Philad* Aug. 27. 1755. 


I received your Favours of May 28 and June i. I believe 
I have already wrote you, that our Friend Smith is not 
thought here to be the Author of the Pamphlet you mention. 2 
'Tis generally suppos'd to be the Governor's (with some 
Help from one or two others) as his Messages are filPd with 
the same Sentiments and almost the same Expressions. He 
is, I think, the rashest and most indiscreet Governor that 
I have known, and will do more Mischief to the Proprieta- 
ries Interest than Good and make them more Enemies than 
Friends. He has 1000 little Arts to provoke and irritate 
the People, but none to gain their good Will, Esteem, or 
Confidence; without which Publick Business must go on 
heavily or not at all. We are all in Flames, as you will see 
by the Papers. I have wrote to our Agent, Mr. Partridge, 
a short but I believe a clear Ace 1 of our late Bill for giving 
50,000 refus'd by the Governor because the Proprietary 
Estate was thereby to be taxed with others. He will show 
it to you if you desire it, as I have not now time to repeat it. 
These Obstructions of the general Interest from particular 
Disputes in the Colonies show more and more the Necessity 
of the projected UNION which I hope will be compleated soon ; 
for depend on it no American War will ever be well carried 
on without it. 

I wrote you, via New York, a full Account of our shameful 

1 From the private collection of Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan. 

2 See Introduction, Vol. I, p. 160. ED. 


Defeat on the Ohio. The General presum'd too much, and 
was too secure. This the Event proves, but it was my 
Opinion from the time I saw him and convers'd with him. 

I send you herewith one of Evans's 1 Maps which please 
to accept. There is one likewise for our Friend Jackson 
to whom I cannot now write. 

I enclose a few Experiments made in pursuance of the very 
ingenious Mr. Canton's Discoveries. Please to communi- 
cate them to him with my Respects. 

I do not find that our Assembly have any Inclination to 
answer the Brief State. They think it below them. Per- 
haps they slight it too much. The Design was to get Quakers 
out of the Assembly, on this Principle, or at least on this 
Pretence, That they could not or would not do the Duty of 
Assembly Men in defending the Country. Great Pains was 
taken to this Purpose at our last Election, when I was absent 
in New England but in vain. If the End was simply to get 
the Country defended by Grants of Money the Quakers 
have now shown that they can give and dispose of Money 
for that purpose as freely as any People. If this does not 
give Satisfaction, the Pique against them must seem to be 
personal and private, and not formed on Views for the Pub- 
lick Good. I know the Quakers now think it their Duty, 
when chosen, to consider themselves as Representatives of 
the Whole People, and not of their own Sect only; they 
consider the Public Money as raised from and belonging to 
the whole Publick, and not to their Sect only, and therefore, 
tho' they can neither bear Arms themselves nor compel others 
to do it, yet very lately when our Frontier Inhabitants who 
are chiefly Presbyterians or Churchmen, thought them- 

1 Lewis Evans, Surveyor. ED. 


selves in Danger, and the Poor among them were unable to 
provide Arms, and petitioned the House, a Sum was voted 
for these purposes, and put into the Hands of a Committee 
to procure and supply them. I have accordingly purchas'd 
and sent up a considerable Quantity; with the Governor's 
Approbation as to the Disposition; for as he is Captain 
General we think it our Duty not to arm the People without 
his Consent, tho' we are otherwise at Variance with him. 

To me, it seems that if Quakerism (as to the matter of 
Defence) be excluded the House, there is no Necessity to 
exclude Quakers, who in other Respects make good and use- 
ful Members. I am suppos'd to have had a principal share 
in prevailing with the House to make their late generous 
Grants to Braddock and Shirley, and the Bill for giving 
50,000, and the Governor with his few Friends are angry 
with me for disappointing them by that Means of a fresh 
Accusation against the Quakers. A Number of Falshoods 
are now privately propagated to blast my Character; of 
which I shall take no Notice till they grow bold enough to 
show their Faces in publick. Those who caress'd me a few 
Months since, are now endeavouring to defame me every- 
where by every base Act. 

But it happens that I have the Means of my full Defence 
and their effectual Defeat in my Power and shall use those 
Means in due time. Let me know if you learn that any 
of their Slanders reach England. I abhor these Alterca- 
tions and if I did not love the Country and the People would 
remove immediately into a more quiet Government, Connect- 
icut, where I am also happy enough to have many Friends. 

Have you receiv'd my large Philosophical Pacquet? I 
do not ask whether you have read it ; for it was so big, that 

1755] TO JARED ELIOT 279 

I ought not in conscience to expect you will read it in less 
than a 12 month; when you may possibly have such another. 

Please to send the Magazines wanted in the Library as 
per the enclos'd List. We are about to bind them up and 
should have our Sets compleat. Send us also Johnson's 
New English Dictionary. I enclose you a Bill for ^75 
Sterling on Ace 4 of the Academy. I shall send you per next 
Ship, with a List of Philosophical Implements to compleat 
our Apparatus for Natural Philosophy: In the meantime 
please to bespeak for us, one of Mr. Smeaton's new Air 
Pumps, described in the late Transactions. 

Adieu, my dear Friend, and believe me to be, with great 
Esteem and Affection, 

Your humble and most obedient Servant 



Philada, Aug 31, 175 5. 


I have been employ'd almost all this summer in the service 
of an unfortunate Army, and other publick Affairs, that 
have brought me greatly in Arrears with my Correspondents. 
I have lost the Pleasure of conversing with them, and I have 
lost my Labour. I wish these were the only Losses of the 
Year; but we have lost a number of brave Men, and all our 
credit with the Indians. I fear these Losses may soon be 
productive of more and greater. 

I have had no Opportunity of making the enquiry you 
desired relating to Leonard. Somerset County in Maryland 
is 150 miles from hence, and out of the common road of 


Travellers or the Post; nor have I any Correspondent or 
Acquaintance there. But now, while I am writing, I recollect 
a Friend I have at Newtown within 50 miles of Somerset, 
who has a very general Knowledge of those Parts and of the 
People, as he practises the Law in all the Counties on the 
Eastern Shore of Maryland. I will immediately write to 
him about it. 

I am sorry your Newspapers miscarry. If your Riders 
are not more careful, I must order them to be changed. 
The Mitchel, who made the map, is our Dr. Mitchel. I 
send you one of Evans's new maps, which I imagine will be 
agreeable to you. Please to accept it. I am glad to hear 
your Son has acquir'd the art of making Steel. I hope it 
will prove profitable. Mr. Roberts is pleas'd that you so 
kindly accept his Fork and Rake. I suppose he will write 
to you; but he is a Man of much Business, and does not 
love Writing. I shall learn once more (for he told me once 
and I have forgotten it) how those Teeth are put in, and send 
you word; but perhaps our friend Bartram can tell you. 
He delivers you this, and I need not recommend him to you, 
for you are already acquainted with his Merit, tho' not with 
his Face and Person. You will have a great deal of Pleasure 
in one another's Conversation. I wish I could be within 
hearing, but that cannot be. He is upon one of his Rambles 
in Search of Knowledge, and intends to view both your 
Seacoast and back Country. 

Remember me kindly to Mr. Tufts and Mr. Ruggles 
when you see them. My Respects to your good Lady and 
Family. With the greatest Esteem, I am, dear Sir, your 
most affectionate, humble Servant 




Philad*, Sept. i. 1755. 

I wrote to you yesterday, and now I write again. You 
will say, // can't rain, but it pours; for I not only send you 
manuscript but living letters. The first may be short, but 
the latter will be longer and yet more agreeable. Mr. Bartram 
I believe you will find to be at least twenty folio pages, large 
Paper well filPd, on the Subjects of Botany, Fossils, Hus- 
bandry, and the first Creation. This Mr. Alison * is as many 
or more on Agriculture, Philosophy, your own Catholick 
Divinity, and various other Points of Learning equally 
useful and engaging. Read them both. 'Twill take you 
at least a Week; and then answer, by sending me two of 
the like kind, or by coming yourself. If you fail of this, I 
shall think I have overbalanced my epistolary Account, and 
that you will be in my debt as a Correspondent for at least 
a 12 month to come. 

I remember with Pleasure the cheerful Hours I enjoy'd 
last Winter in your Company, and would with all my heart 
give any ten of the thick old Folios that stand on the Shelves 
before me, for a little book of the Stories you then told with 
so much Propriety and Humor. Adieu, my dear friend, and 
believe me ever yours affectionately, B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. The Piece of Iron Ore you mention'd in yours of 
April 10. never came 'to hand. I forgot to mention, that the 
Bearer Mr Allison is Rector of our Academy and my par- 
ticular Friend. He is on a Journey Northward for Health. 

1 Francis Alison, Vice Provost of the College and Academy of Phila- 
delphia. ED. 



Philadelphia, Sept. n, 1755. 

BEGONE, business, for an hour, at least, and let me chat a 
little with my Katy. 

I have now before me, my dear girl, three of your favours, 
viz. of March the 3d, March the 3oth, and May the ist. 
The first I received just before I set out on a long journey, 
and the others while I was on that journey, which held me 
near six weeks. Since my return, I have been in such a 
perpetual hurry of public affairs of various kinds, as renders 
it impracticable for me to keep up my private correspon- 
dences, even those that afforded me the greatest pleasure. 

You ask in your last, how I do, and what I am doing, and 
whether everybody loves me yet, and why I make them do so. 

In regard to the first, I can say, thanks to God, that I do not 
remember I was ever better. I still relish all the pleasures 
of life, that a temperate man can in reason desire, and through 
favour I have them all in my power. This happy situation 
shall continue as long as God pleases, who knows what is 
best for his creatures, and I hope will enable me to bear with 
patience and dutiful submission any change he may think fit 
to make that is less agreeable. As to the second question, 
I must confess (but don't you be jealous), that many more 
people love me now, than ever did before ; for since I saw you 
I have been enabled to do some general services to the 
country, and to the army, for which both have thanked and 
praised me, and say they love me. They say so, as you used 
to do ; and if I were to ask any favours of them, they would, 


perhaps, as readily refuse me ; so that I find little real advan- 
tage in being beloved, but it pleases my humour. 

Now it is near four months since I have been favoured with 
a single line from you; but I will not be angry with you, 
because it is my fault. I ran in debt to you three or four 
letters; and as I did not pay, you would not trust me any 
more, and you had some reason. But, believe me, I am 
honest; and, tho' I should never make equal returns, you 
shall see I will keep fair accounts. Equal returns I can 
never make, tho' I should write to you by every post; for 
the pleasure I receive from one of yours is more than you 
can have from two of mine. The small news, the domestic 
occurrences among our friends, the natural pictures you draw 
of persons, the sensible observations and reflections you make, 
and the easy, chatty manner in which you express every 
thing, all contribute to heighten the pleasure; and the more 
as they remind me of those hours and miles, that we talked 
away so agreeably, even in a winter journey, a wrong road, 
and a soaking shower. 

I long to hear whether you have continued ever since in 
that monastery ; 1 or have broke into the world again, doing 
pretty mischief; how the lady Wards do, and how many 

of them are married, or about it ; what is become of Mr. B 

and Mr. L , and what the state of your heart is at this 

instant? But that, perhaps, I ought not to know; and, 
therefore, I will not conjure, as you sometimes say I do. 
If I could conjure, it should be to know what was that oddest 
question about me that ever was thought of, which you tell 
me a lady had just sent to ask you. 

I commend your prudent resolutions, in the article of grant- 

i Block Island. 


ing favours to lovers. But, if I were courting you, I could 
not hardly approve such conduct. I should even be malicious 
enough to say you were too knowing^ and tell you the old 
story of the Girl and the Miller. I enclose you the songs 
you write for, and with them your Spanish letter with a 
translation. I honour that honest Spaniard for loving you. 
It showed the goodness of his taste and judgement. But 
you must forget him, and bless some worthy young English- 

You have spun a long thread, five thousand and twenty- 
two yards. It will reach almost from Rhode Island hither. 
I wish I had hold of one end of it, to pull you to me. But 
you would break it rather than come. The cords of love and 
friendship are longer and stronger, and in times past have 
drawn me farther ; even back from England to Philadelphia. 
I guess that some of the same kind will one day draw you 
out of that Island. 

I was extremely pleased with the turf you sent me. The 
Irish people, who have seen it, say it is the right sort ; but I 
cannot learn that we have any thing like it here. The 
cheeses, particularly one of them, were excellent. All our 
friends have tasted it, and all agree that it exceeds any 
English cheese they ever tasted. Mrs. Franklin was very 
proud, that a young lady should have so much regard for 
her old husband, as to send him such a present. We talk 
of you every time it comes to table. She is sure you are a 
sensible girl, and a notable housewife, and talks of bequeath- 
ing me to you as a legacy ; but I ought to wish you a better, 
and hope she will live these hundred years ; for we are grown 
old together, and if she has any faults, I am so used to 'em 
that I don't perceive 'em; as the song says, 

1 755] T0 JOHN- HANCOCK 285 

" Some faults we have all, and so has my Joan, 

But then they 're exceedingly small ; 
And, now I am used, they are like my own, 
I scarcely can see 'em at all, 

My dear friends, 
I scarcely can see 'em at all." 

Indeed, I begin to think she has none, as I think of you. And 
since she is willing I should love you, as much as you are 
willing to be loved by me, let us join in wishing the old lady 
a long life and a happy. 

With her respectful compliments to you, to your good 
mother and sisters, present mine, though unknown; and 
believe me to be, dear girl, your affectionate friend and 

humble servant, 


P. S. Sally says, "Papa, my love to Miss Katy." 
If it was not quite unreasonable, I should desire you to write 
to me every post, whether you hear from me or not. As to 
your spelling, don't let those laughing girls put you out of 
conceit with it. It is the best in the world, for every letter 
of it stands for something. 


Philadelphia Sept!; n, 1755 

You may remember that when I last had the pleasure 
of seeing you, I mentioned the Inconvenience attending the 
want of a Fund to increase and improve your College Library. 

I imagined that a Subscription set on foot for that purpose 
might with proper Management produce something con- 


siderable. I know you are a Friend to the College, and 
therefore take the freedom of inclosing a Paper of that 
kind, and recommending it to your care to procure (if you 
approve of the design) a suitable number of Hands to it. 
Five and twenty subscribers at four Pistoles each per Annum 
would in five years produce five hundred Pistoles, which if 
all laid out in Books would make a handsome addition to 
the Library or if put to interest would produce a little Annual 
Income sufficient to procure the best new books published 
in each year. Some might perhaps Subscribe more than 
four Pistoles per annum and others less ; and I think that a 
single Pistole or half a Pistole should not be refused; tho' 
such small sums might occasion a little more Trouble in 
Receiving or Collecting. 

I send with all an order on my Brother for my first Year's 
Payment. 'Tis but a trifle compar'd with my hearty good 
will and Respect to the College; but a small seed properly 
sown sometimes produces a large and fruitful Tree, which 
I sincerely wish may be the good Fortune of this. My 
respectful Compliments to M rs Hancock and believe me to be 
with very great Esteem 

Sir Your most obedient humble Servant 


196. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 1 (P. c.) 

Philadelphia, October 7, 1755. 

DEAR SIR : Mr. Hall has wrote to you for a fount of 
English and a fount with a long-primer face on a smaller 

1 From John Bigelow, " The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin," 
Vol. X, p. 273. ED. 


body, for the Gazette on my account. Enclosed is a bill for 
109 8s. 4d. sterling, drawn on the Rev. Mr. Saml. Chandler, 
which I doubt not will be readily paid. I know not well 
how my account stands with you, and should be glad to 
see it, but suppose this bill will leave a balance in your 
hands after paying for those founts, so have taken the freedom 
to draw a small bill on you, payable to Nathl. Voogdt & Co., 
Merchants, London, for 2 iys. 6d. sterling, which they 
are to remit to Germany on a particular occasion. 

My compliments to Mrs. Strahan, and to your promising 
son, perhaps one day mine. God send our children good 
and suitable matches, for I begin to feel a parents' cares in 
that respect, and fondly wish to see them well settled before 
I leave them. 

Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me to be yours most 
affectionately, B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. The enclosed pamphlet is lately printed in Boston. 
You will find a number of interesting facts in it. At the end 
a little piece of mine. 

[Endorsed in pencil in Franklin's handwriting.] 

Observations on the late and present conduct of the 
French with regard to their encroachments upon the British 
colonies in North America. Together with remarks on the 
importance of those colonies to Great Britain, by William 

To which are added by another hand "Observations con- 
cerning the increase of mankind, peopling of colonies," etc. 



Philadelphia Oct. 16, 1755. 


Your Favour 'of the 28th of June came to hand but the 
28th of September, just 3 Months after it was written. I had, 
two Weeks before, wrote you a long Chat, and sent it to the 
Care of your Brother Ward. I hear you are now in Boston, 
gay and lovely as usual. Let me give you some fatherly 
Advice. Kill no more Pigeons than you can eat Be a 
good Girl and dont forget your Catechism. Go constantly 
to Meeting or church till you get a good Husband, 
then stay at home, & nurse the Children, and live like a 
Christian Spend your spare Hours, in sober Whisk, 
Prayers, or learning to cypher You must practise addition 
to your Husband's Estate, by Industry & Frugality; sub- 
traction of all unnecessary Expenses; Multiplication (I 
would gladly have taught you that myself, but you thought 
it was time enough, & wouldn't learn) he will soon make 
you a Mistress of it. As to Division, I say with Brother Paul, 
Let there be no Division among ye. But as your good Sister 
Hubbard (my love to her) is well acquainted with The Rule 
o) Two, I hope you will become an expert in the Rule of 
Three; that when I have again the pleasure of seeing you, 
I may find you like my Grape Vine, surrounded with Clusters, 
plump, juicy, blushing, pretty little rogues, like their Mama. 

1 From Rhode Island Mercury and Gazette, April 7, 1896. Previously 
printed in Boston Post, January 10, 1850. ED. 


Adieu. The Bell rings, and I must go among the Grave ones, 
and talk Politicks. Your affectionate Friend 


P. S. The Plums came safe, and were so sweet from the 
Cause you mentioned, that I could scarce taste the Sugar. 

198. TO WILLIAM JOHNSON 1 (A. p. s.) 

M r JOHNSTON Philad a Oct. 16. 1755. 


I have settled Col. Hunters Acct. and find a Ballance in my 
Hands of 835 o// 3^ Pensilv*. Currency, which shall be paid 
to your Orders, if you find it necessary to draw on me. 

I enclose you a Copy of a Letter I have just received from 
General Shirley, with a Copy of his Warrant to you for the 
Payment of such Sums to me as the Waggon Affair may 
require. Col. Hunter is expected here in a few Days, I 
suppose in his Way to meet you at New York according to 
his Appointment. This will delay my Journey down till he 
comes, as I want to see him, & fear I might miss him on the 
Way, not knowing on which Side of the Bay he purposes to 
travel. I hope when you meet, some Method will be found 
of transferring the Cash, for Payment of these poor People 
without much Trouble or Risque to him or you. 

I am with much Respect, Sir, 

Your most hum 1 Serv*. 


1 Sir William Johnson (1715-1774) was appointed by General Braddock 
(April, 1755) "Sole superintendent of the affairs of the six united nations, 
their allies, and dependants." He was knighted, November 27, 1755. ED. 

VOL. Ill U 


199. TO COLONEL HUNTER 1 (A. p. s.) 

COL. HUNTER, Philad* Oct. 16. 1755 


I could not avoid meeting the Assembly, who are now 
sitting, but must rise in two or three Days, when I purposed 
to proceed to Virginia; But your Letter to M rs Nelson 
mentioning your Intention of being here in ten Days, and 
being very desirous of seeing you in order to settle our Money 
Acct. & concert Measures relating to a farther Supply of 
Cash to discharge the Waggon Affair, General Shirley 
having sent his Warrant to M r Johnston to pay me such 
Sum as shall be found necessary for that purpose after Settle- 
ment of the Waggon Accts. I shall now wait your Arrival 
here, fearing I might otherwise miss you on the Way. M r 
Johnson has drawn out of my Hands all your Cash to about 

800 Currency. 


200. TO WILLIAM SHIRLEY (A. p. s.) 

Philad 3 , Oct. 23, 1755. 


I beg leave to return your Excell y my sincerest and most 
hearty Thanks for your Letter of the i7th of September, 
with the Orders for Payment of the Waggon Owners, and 
an Extract of your Orders to Col. Dunbar, forbidding the 
Enlistment of Servants and Apprentices. Acts of Justice 
so readily done become great Favours, which I hope will be 

1 Franklin and Colonel Hunter were jointly postmasters-general for the 
colonies. ED. 


ever gratefully acknowledg'd by this People in Actions as 
well as Words. 

I have also your Favour of the 5th Instant. Gov. Morris 
is gone to Newcastle, to meet the Assembly of the Lower 
Counties, so that I cannot at present see the Papers you refer 
me to. But I shall wait upon him in my Journey to Vir- 
ginia; and if on perusing those Papers any thing seeming 
worth your Notice should occur to me, I shall communicate 
my Sentiments to you with that honest Freedom, which you 
always approve. 

This Journey, which I cannot now avoid, will deprive 
me of the Pleasure of Waiting on your Excellency at New 
York at the Time you mention. I hear, too, that the Gov. 
does not purpose to send any Commissioners thither, but to 
go himself. I know not what is to be the particular Subject 
of your Consultations; but, as I believe all your Schemes 
have the King's Service (which is the public good) in view, 
I cannot but wish them Success. 

Our Assembly meets the beginning of December, when 
I hope to be at home again ; and, if any Assistance is to be 
required of them and the People here, depend on my faithful 
Services, so far as my little Sphere of Influence shall extend. 
With the highest Esteem and Respect, I have the Honour 
to be, &c. 



201. TO RICHARD PATRIDGE 1 (A. p. s.) 

Philad* Oct. 25. 1755. 


The above is a Copy of mine per Capt. Joy. Since wch. 
the new Assembly met, and chose you & Mr Charles their 
Agents for the ensuing Year. The Governor offered noth- 
ing to the House : but they hearing occasionally that he had 
rec d some Letters of Importance relating to Indian Affairs, 
sent a particular Message to enquire if he had any thing of 
Consequence, particularly of that kind, to lay before them; 
& he answered that he had not. Nor did he communi- 
cate the Letters receiv'd during the preceding Session from 
Boston, requesting more Provisions. The House adj d to 
the first of December. 

In pursuance of the Vote in the September Session, a con- 
siderable Sum is subscribed here for the Supply of the Troops 
who are to be during the Winter on the Frontiers of N. York 
&c., with warm Wastecoats, Stockings & Mittens, as well as 
with Provisions ; which will be speedily forwarded. 

We have this Day the bad News that the Enemy have last 
Week surpris'd and cut off eight Families in this Province: 
13 grown Persons were killed & scalped, and 12 Children 
carried away. They were new Settlers at a place called 
Penn's Creek near Shamokin. This is a natural Conse- 
quence of the loose manner of Settling in these Colonies, 
picking here and there a good Piece of Land, and sitting down 
at such a distance from each other as that a few Indians may 

1 Richard Patridge, or Partridge, was born probably at Portsmouth, N. H., 
December 9, 1681, eldest son of the Hon. William Partridge, Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor of New Hampshire. He died in London, March 6, 1759. ED. 

1756] PLAN FOR SAVING 100,000 293 

destroy a Number of Familys one after the other, without 
their being even alarm'd or able to afford one another any 

The People on the Frontiers having petitioned for Arms 
and Ammunition for their Defence, 600 good Arms have 
been purchased and sent up by the Committee of Assembly 
with suitable Ammunition, to supply such as are without 
& unable to buy for themselves. And could our Bill for 
5o,ooO; have been obtained, a great deal more might have 
been done for the Security of the Country in the military 
way, as the Disposition of the Money was by the Bill put 
into such Hands as have no Scruples on that head. 

I hear that a Party Petition to the King against the As- 
sembly is privately handed about to get Hands, and is to 
be sent over in this Ship; but I have not had a Sight of it, 
and can say nothing certain of the Contents. 

I hope the ensuing Parliament will establish an Union of 
the Colonies for their common Defence, which will extin- 
guish all these uncomfortable Disputes. 

I am Sir, 

Your hum. Servt. 

B. F. 



As I spent some Weeks last Winter, in visiting my old 
Acquaintance in the Jerseys, great Complaints I heard for 
Want of Money, and that Leave to make more Paper Bills 
could not be obtained. Friends and Countrymen, my Ad- 


vice on this Head shall cost you nothing, and if you will 
not be angry with me for giving it, I promise you not to be 
offended if you do not take it. 

You spend yearly at least Two Hundred Thousand Pounds, 
'tis said, in European, East-Indian, and West-Indian Com- 
modities: Supposing one Half of this Expence to be in 
Things absolutely necessary, the other Half may be called 
Superfluities, or, at best, Conveniences, which however you 
might live without for one little Year, and not suffer exceed- 
ingly. Now to save this Half, observe these few Directions. 

1. When you incline to have new Cloaths, look first well 
over the old Ones, and see if you cannot shift with them 
another Year, either by Scouring, Mending, or even Patch- 
ing if necessary. Remember a Patch on your Coat, and 
Money in your Pocket, is better and more creditable, than 
a Writ on your Back, and no Money to take it off. 

2. When you incline to buy China Ware, Chinees, India 
Silks, or any other of their flimsey, slight Manufactures; I 
would not be so hard with you, as to insist on your absolutely 
resolving against it; all I advise, is, to put it off (as you do 
your Repentance) till another Year; and this, in some Re- 
spects, may prevent an Occasion of Repentance. 

3. If you are now a Drinker of Punch, Wine, or Tea, 
twice a Day; for the ensuing Year drink them but once a 
Day. If you now drink them but once a Day, do it but every 
other Day. If you do it now but once a Week, reduce the 
Practice to once a Fortnight. And if you do not exceed in 
Quantity as you lessen the Times, half your Expence in these 
Articles will be saved. 

4thly and lastly, When you incline to drink Rum, fill the 
Glass half with Water. 

1755] TO JAMES READ 295 

Thus at the Year's End, there will be An Hundred Thou- 
sand Pounds more Money in your Country. 

If Paper Money in ever so great a Quantity could be made, 
no Man could get any of it without giving something for it. 
But all he saves in this Way, will be his own for nothing, and 
his Country actually so much richer. Then the Merchants' 
old and doubtful Debts may be honestly paid off, and Trad- 
ing become surer thereafter, if not so extensive. 


Philadelphia, November 2, 1755. 


I have your letter by Mr. Sea, and one just now by ex- 
press. I am glad to hear the arms are well got up ; they are 
the best that we could procure. I wish they were better ; but 
they are well fortified, will bear a good charge, and I should 
imagine they would do good service with swan or buck shot, 
if not so fit for single ball. I have been ill these eight days, 
confined to my room and bed most of the time, but am now 
getting better. I have, however, done what I could in send- 
ing about to purchase arms, &c., for the supply of the fron- 
tiers, and can now spare you fifty more, which I shall send 
up to-morrow with some flints, lead, swan-shot, and a barrel 
of gunpowder. The arms will be under your care and Mr. 
Weiser's, 2 you being gentlemen in commission from the gov- 
ernor. Keep an account of whose hands you put them into. 
Let them be prudent, sober, careful men, such as will not 

1 First printed by Sparks. 

2 Conrad Weiser, a trapper and Indian interpreter, often mentioned by 
Franklin. ED. 


rashly hurt our friends with them, and such as will honestly 
return them when peace shall be happily restored. 

I sincerely commiserate the distress of your out settlers. 
The Assembly sit to-morrow, and there is no room to doubt 
of their hearty endeavours to do every thing necessary for 
the country's safety. I wish the same disposition may be 
found in the governor, and I hope it. I have put off my jour- 
ney to Virginia, and you may depend on my best services for 
the common welfare, so far as my little influence extends. 
I am your affectionate kinsman and humble servant, 


P.S. My best respects to Mr. Weiser. Nine hundred 
arms with ammunition have been sent up, by the committee 
of Assembly, to different parts of the frontier. 

204. AN ACT 



PASSED NOV. 25, 1755. 

WHEREAS this province was first settled by (and a ma- 
jority of the Assemblies have ever since been of) the people 

1 From the Gentleman's Magazine, February, 1756, p. 83. The editor of 
the magazine appends to the text the following note : " We think ourselves 
much obliged to our friend American for his favour dated Philadelphia Nov. 
20, 1755, notwithstanding the cost, but he will see by our last Mag and Supp 
that what he recommended to us is anticipated. We are not surprized, that 
bigots of any party should be offended with our state of public contests, as 

1755] A MILITIA ACT 297 

called Quakers, who, though they do not, as the world is 
now circumstanced, condemn the use of arms in others, yet 
are principled against bearing arms themselves ; and to make 
any law to compel them thereto, against their consciences, 
would not be only to violate a fundamental in our constitu- 
tion, and be a direct breach of our charter of privileges, but 
would also in effect be to commence persecution against all 
that part of the inhabitants of the province ; and for them by 
any law to compel others to bear arms, and exempt them- 
selves, would be inconsistent and partial ; yet forasmuch as 
by the general toleration and equity of our laws, great num- 
bers of people of other religious denominations are come 
among us, who are under no such restraint, some of whom 
have been disciplined in the art of war, and conscientiously 
think it their duty to fight in defence of their country, their 
wives, their families, and estates, and such have an equal 
right to liberty of conscience with others; and whereas a 
great number of petitions from the several counties of this 

we make it an invariable rule to keep that mean which is equally distant 
from both extremes, and as we are not conscious to the influence of passion, 
we hope we have been directed by truth. We should indeed sometimes be 
glad to avoid filling any of our pages with a subject that if remember'd must 
be remember'd only to be regretted. But it is expected of us by our readers, 
as an essential part of our plan, and we think it also due to posterity, who, we 
flatter ourselves, will consider our compilations as authentic materials for the 
history of the present times." ED. 

The defeat of General Braddock at the battle of the Monongahela, on the 
9th of July, 1755, had filled the people of Pennsylvania with alarm. The 
Assembly at its next session made a large grant in money for purposes of 
defence. The doctrine of non-resistance, which was a part of the creed of 
a large portion of the population, had hitherto prevented the establishment 
of any efficient militia system. To meet the present crisis, Franklin drew up 
the following act for embodying and disciplining a voluntary militia. It was 
carried through the House, he says, without much difficulty, because care had 
been taken to leave the Quakers at liberty. S. 


province have been presented to this House, setting forth, 
that the petitioners are very willing to defend themselves 
and their country, and desirous of being formed into regular 
bodies for that purpose, instructed and disciplined under 
proper officers, with suitable and legal authority ; represent- 
ing withal, that unless measures of this kind are taken, 
so as to unite them together, subject them to due com- 
mand, and thereby give them confidence in each other, they 
cannot assemble to oppose the enemy, without the utmost 
danger of exposing themselves to confusion and destruction; 

And whereas the voluntary assembling of great bodies of 
armed men from different parts of the province on any occa- 
sional alarm, whether true or false, as of late hath hap- 
pened, without call or authority from the government, and 
without due order and direction among themselves, may be 
attended with danger to our neighbouring Indian friends 
and allies, as well as to the internal peace of the province ; 

And whereas the Governor hath frequently recommended 
it to the Assembly, that in preparing and passing a Law 
for such Purposes, they should have a due regard for scru- 
pulous and tender consciences, which cannot be done where 
compulsive means are used to force men into military ser- 
vice ; therefore, as we represent all the people of the province, 
and are composed of members of different religious persua- 
sions, we do not think it reasonable that any should, through 
a want of legal powers, be in the least restrained from doing 
what they judge it their duty to do for their own security and 
the public good; we in compliance with the said petitions 
and recommendations, do offer it to the governor to be en- 
acted, and be it enacted by the Hon. Robert Hunter Morris, 
with the King's royal approbation lieutenant-governor, un- 

1755] A MILITIA ACT 299 

der the Hon. Thomas Penn, and Richard Penny Esqrs., true 
and absolute proprietors of the province of Pensylvania, and 
of the counties of Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex, upon Dela- 
ware, by and with the advice and consent of the representa- 
tives of the freemen of the said province in General Assembly 
met, and by the authority of the same, that from and after 
the publication of this act, it shall and may be lawful 
for the freemen of this province to form themselves into 
companies, as heretofore they have used in time of war with- 
out law, and for each company, by majority of votes in the 
way of ballot, to chuse its own officers, to wit, a captain, lieu- 
tenant, and ensign, and present them to the governor or com- 
mander-in-chief for the time being fof his approbation; 
which officers so chosen, if approved and commissioned by 
him, shall be the captain, lieutenant, and ensign of each com- 
pany respectively, according to their commissions; and, the 
said companies being divided into regiments by the gov- 
ernor or commander-in-chief , it shall and may be lawful for 
the officers so chosen and commissioned for the several com- 
panies of each regiment, to meet together, and by majority 
of votes, in the way of ballot, to chuse a colonel, lieutenant- 
colonel, and major, for the regiment, and present them to 
the governor or commander-in-chief for his approbation; 
which officers so chosen, if approved and commissioned by 
him, shall be the colonel, lieutenant-colonel, and major of 
the regiment, according to their commissions, during the 
continuance of this act. 

Provided always, that if the governor or commander-in- 
chief shall not think fit to grant his commission to any offi- 
cer so first chosen and presented, it shall and may be lawful 
for the electors of such officer to chuse two other persons in 


his stead, and present them to the governor or commander- 
in-chief, one of whom, at his pleasure, shall receive his com- 
mission, and be the officer as aforesaid. 

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that 
as soon as the said companies and regiments are formed, 
and their officers commissioned as aforesaid, it shall and may 
be lawful to and for the governor, or commander-in-chief, 
by and with the advice and consent of the colonels, lieuten- 
ant-colonels, and majors of all the regiments, being for that 
purpose by him called and convened, or by and with the ad- 
vice and consent of a majority of the said officers that shall 
be met and present together on such call, to form, make, and 
establish articles of war, for the better government of the 
forces that shall be under their command, and for bring- 
ing offenders against the same to justice; and to erect and 
constitute courts-martial, with power to hear, try, and deter- 
mine any crimes or offences by such articles of war, and in- 
flict penalties by sentence or judgement of the same on those 
who shall be subject thereto, in any place within this province. 
Which articles of war, when made as aforesaid, shall be 
printed and distributed to the captains of the several com- 
panies, and by them distinctly read to their respective com- 
panies; and all and every captain, lieutenant, ensign, or 
other freeman, who shall, after at least three days' consid- 
eration of the said articles, voluntarily sign the same, in pres- 
ence of some one justice of the peace, acknowledging his 
having perused or heard the same distinctly read, and that 
he has well considered thereof, and is willing to be bound 
and governed thereby, and promises obedience thereto, and 
to his officers accordingly, shall henceforth be deemed well 
and duly bound to the observance of the said articles, and 

1755] A MILITIA BILL 301 

to the duties thereby required, and subject to the pains, pen- 
alties, punishments, and forfeitures, that may therein be 
appointed for disobedience and other offences. 

Provided always, that the articles, so to be made and es- 
tablished, shall contain nothing repugnant, but be as near 
as possible conformable to the military laws of Great Britain, 
and to the articles of war made and established by his Maj- 
esty in pursuance of the last act of Parliament for punish- 
ing mutiny and desertion, the different circumstances of 
this province compared with Great Britain, and of a volun- 
tary militia of freemen compared with mercenary standing 
troops, being duly weighed and maturely considered. 

Provided also, that nothing in this act shall be understood 
or construed to give any power or authority to the governor 
or commander-in-chief, and the said officers, to make any 
articles or rules that shall in the least affect those of the 
inhabitants of the province who are conscientiously scrupu- 
lous of bearing arms, either in their liberties, persons, or 
estates ; nor any other persons of what persuasion or denomi- 
nation soever, who have not first voluntarily and freely 
signed the said articles after due consideration as aforesaid. 

Provided also, that no youth under the age of twenty-one 
years, nor any bought servant or indented apprentice, shall 
be admitted to enroll himself, or be capable of being enroll' d, 
in the said companies or regiments, without the consent of 
his or their parents or guardians, masters or mistresses, in 
writing under their hands first had and obtained. 

Provided also, that no enlistment or enrolment of any 
person in any of the companies or regiments to be formed 
and raised as aforesaid, shall protect such person in any suit 
or civil action brought against him by his creditors or others, 


except during his being in actual service in field or garrison ; 
nor from a prosecution for any offence committed against 
the laws of this province. 

Provided, also, that no regiment, company, or party of 
volunteers, shall, by virtue of this act, be compelled or led 
more than three days' march beyond the inhabited parts of 
the province; nor detained longer than three weeks in any 
garrison, without an express engagement for that purpose, 
first voluntarily entered into and subscribed by every man 
so to march or remain in garrison. 

This act to continue in force until the 3oth day of Octo- 
ber next, and no longer. 

205. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN * (P. c.) 
Philadelphia, November 27, 1755. 


I have yours of October 3d; Bolitho being just arrived, 
the things not yet come on shore. 

By the account sent I find I was then 59. 45. 6d. sterling in 
your debt. I hope you have since received the bills I sent 
you per Joy & Budden for 109. 8s. 4d. sterling, which will 
leave a balance in my favour. 

I do not at all approve of B. Mecom's being so much in 
your debt, and shall write to him about it. The people of 
those islands expect a great deal of credit, and when the 
books are out of his hands, if he should die, half would not 
be collected. This I have learned by experience in the case 
of poor Smith, whom I first settled there. I am glad, there- 

1 From John Bigelow, " The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin," Vol. 
X., p. 274. ED. 


fore, that you declined sending him the other things he wrote 
for. Pray write to him for the pay and make him keep 
touch; that will oblige him to dun quick and get in his 
debts; otherwise he may hurt himself, and you in the end. 
Remember I gave you this caution and that you venture on 
your own risk. 

I shall be glad to be of any service to you in the affair you 
mention relating to the Gentleman's Magazine, and our 
daughter (who already trades a little in London) is willing 
to undertake the distributing of them per post from this 
place, hoping it may produce some profit to herself. I will 
immediately cause advertisements to be printed in the papers 
here, at New York, New Haven, and Boston, recommend- 
ing that magazine and proposing to supply all who will sub- 
scribe for them at 133. this currency, a year, the subscribers 
paying down the money for one year beforehand ; for other- 
wise there will be a considerable loss by bad debts. As soon 
as I find out what the subscription will produce I shall know 
what number to send for. Most of those for New England 
must be sent to Boston. Those for New York, Connecti- 
cut, Pennsylvania, and Maryland must be sent to New York 
or Philadelphia, as opportunities offer to one place or the 
other. As to Virginia, I believe it will scarce be worth 
while to propose it there, the gentlemen being generally fur- 
nished with them by their correspondents in London. Those 
who incline to continue, must pay for the second year three 
months before the first expires, and so on from time to time. 
The postmaster in those places to take in the subscription 
money and distribute the magazines, etc. These are my 
first thoughts. I shall write further. That magazine has 
always been, in my opinion, by far the best. I think it never 


wants matter, both entertaining and instructive, or I might 
now and then furnish you with some little pieces from this 
part of the world. 

My wife and daughter join in sincerest good wishes of 
prosperity to you and all yours, with, dear sir, your most obe- 
dient humble servant, 


My respects to Mr. Newbery, 1 of whom you give so 
amiable a character. 

206. TO WILLIAM PARSONS 2 (A. p. s.) 

Philad a , Dec. 5, 1755. 


I received your Fav r of Nov. 25, and take this first Oppor- 
tunity of acquainting you, that an Act is passed granting 
60,000 chiefly for the Defence of the Province, and is to be 
dispos'd of for that purpose, by 7 Persons, viz. I. Norris, Ja 
Hamilton, J. Mifflin, Jos Fox, Evan Morgan, Jon' Hughes, 
and your old Friend. We meet every Day, Sundays not ex- 
cepted, and have a good Agreem* with the Govern. 300 Men 
are ordered to be immediately raised on pay, to range the 
Frontiers, and Blockhouses for Stages to be erected at proper 
Distances and garrisoned; so that I hope in a little Time to 

1 John Newbery (1713-1767), "the philanthropic bookseller " of St. Paul's 
Churchyard, who projected The Universal Chronicle or Weekly Gazette. 

2 William Parsons was one of the earliest members of the Junto. He was 
afterwards Surveyor-General of Pennsylvania. When this letter was written 
he was at Easton. He died in 1758. This letter and the following one are 
here printed from the originals in the " Tim? Horsefield's Papers Chiefly on 
Indian Affairs of Pennsylvania " (A. P. S.). ED. 


see things in a better Posture. A Militia Act is also pass'd, 
of which, if People are but well disposed, a good Use may be 
made, and Bodies of Men be ready on any Occasion to assist 
and support the Rangers. All Party laid aside, let you and 
I use our Influence to carry this Act into Execution. 

I received also your Letter of the 2yth, relating the unhappy 
Affair at Gnadenhiit, and desiring Arms. I have accord- 
ingly procured and sent up by a Waggon to one George Over- 
pack's a Chest of Arms containing 50, and 5 loose, in all 55, 
of which 25 are for Eastown, and 30 to be disposed of to such 
Persons nearest Danger on the Frontiers, who are without 
Arms and unable to buy, as yourself, with Messrs. Atkins and 
Martin may judge most proper; letting all know, that the 
Arms are only lent, for their Defence; that they belong to 
the Publick, and must be held forth-coming when the Gov- 
ernment shall demand them; for which each Man should 
give his Note. By the same Waggon we send 25 Guns for 
Lehi Township, and 10 for Bethlehem to the Moravian Breth- 
ren; which make in all 100; with which goes ioo wt of 
Gunpowder, and 400"* lead; so there should be i lb of 
Powder and 4 lb of lead divided to each Gun. 

Who brought your last Letter to me I know not, it being 
left at my House. You mention sending a Waggon, and I 
daily expected to see the Waggoner, but he never called on 
me for an Answer. Please to let me know by a Line when 
you have received what is sent. I am your affectionate 
Friend and humble Servt. 


VOL. Ill X 


207. TO WILLIAM PARSONS (A. p. s.) 

Philad a Dec. 15, 1755. 

We receiv'd yours of the i3th. You will before this time 
have receiv'd the Arms and Ammunition, Blankets, &c., 
sent up for an intended Ranging Party. They may be 
made Use of for the Defence of your Town till we arrive. 
Capt. Trump, from Upper Dublin, marches the Day after 
to-morrow with 50 Men to your Assistance. The Provi- 
sions for their Use go with them, so that they will not burthen 
you. Orders are gone to Capts. Aston and Wayne to march 
also with their Companies immediately. They will remain 
on your Frontier two or three months, till they can be re- 
liev'd by others. 

Mr. Hamilton and myself set out on Thursday to visit 
you, erect Blockhouses in proper Places, etc. Think of 
suitable officers for raising and commanding Men to be kept 
in the Province Pay; for Mr. Hamilton does not know the 
People your way, nor do I know who to recommend. He 
will bring some blank Commissions with him. I inclose you 
Twenty Pounds towards buying Meal and Meat for the poor 
Fugitives, that take Refuge with you. Be of good Courage, 
and God guide you. Your Friends will never desert you. 
I am yours affectionately, 


P.S. Interest on the Bill n/8 is 20 u. 8. 

1755] A DIALOGUE 307 



The object of this Dialogue, as the author tells us, was to enlighten 
the public mind on his Militia Act, and to promote the association 
necessary to form a militia. In his opinion it had " great effect." Such 
objections as could be brought against the Act, are stated and answered 
in a manner suited to the understanding of the people. It was first 
printed in The Pennsylvania Gazette, December i8th, 1755. Tne Mili ~ 
tia Act and the Dialogue were published in the Gentleman's Maga- 
zine, London, the one in February, the other in March, 1756. In an 
editorial paragraph it is said, " The conduct of the Assembly of Penn- 
sylvania, at this time of imminent danger, being thought by many some- 
what extraordinary, every thing that tends to give light into the motives 
of its proceedings must deserve attention." ED. 

X. YOUR servant, gentlemen ; I am glad to see you at my 
house. Is there any thing new to-day? 

Y. We have been talking of the militia act ; have you seen 

X. Yes; I have read it in the papers. 

Z. And what do you think of it ? 

X. The more I consider it, the better I like it. It appears 
to me a very good act, and I am persuaded will be of good 
use, if heartily carried into execution. 

Z. Ay, that may be ; but who is to carry it into execution ? 
It says, that people may form themselves into companies, 
and chuse their own officers; but there is neither time nor 
place appointed for this transaction, nor any person directed 
or impowered to call them together. 

X. 'Tis true; but methinks there are some words that 
point out the method pretty plain to willing minds. And it 


seems to me, that we who joined so sincerely in the petitions 
for a militia law, and really thought one absolutely necessary 
for the safety of our country, should, now we have obtained 
the law, rather endeavour to explain, than invent difficulties 
in the construction of it. 

F. What are those words you mention? 

X. Here is the act itself; I'll read that part of it. "From 
and after the publication of this act, it shall and may be lawful 
for the freemen of this province to form themselves into 
companies, as heretofore they used in time of war without law, 
and for each company, by majority of votes, in the way of 
ballot, to chuse its own officers, &c." The words I meant 
are these, " as heretofore they have used in time of war. 11 Now 
I suppose we have none of us forgot the association in the 
time of the last war ; 'tis not so long since, but that we may 
well enough remember the method we took to form ourselves 
into companies, chuse our officers, and present them to the 
governor for approbation and commissions; and the act in 
question says plainly, we may now lawfully do, in this affair, 
what we then did without law. 

Y. I did not before take so much notice of those words, 
but to be sure, the thing is easy enough; for I remember 
very well how we managed at that time. And indeed 'tis 
easier to effect it now than it was then; for the companies 
and regiments, and their districts, &c., were then all to form 
and settle. But now, why may not the officers of the old 
companies call the old associators together, with such others 
in the district of each company, as incline to be concerned, 
and proceed immediately to a new choice by virtue of the 
act? Other new companies may in other places be formed, 
as the associated companies were. 

1755] A DIALOGUE 309 

Z. You say right. And if this were all the objection to the 
act, no doubt they would do so immediately. But 'tis said, 
there are other faults in it. 

X. What are they? 

Z. The act is so loose, that persons who never intended 
to engage in the militia, even Quakers, may meet and vote 
in the choice of the officers. 

X. Possibly ; but was any such thing observed in the 
association elections? 

Z. Not that I remember. 

X. Why should it be more apprehended now, than it was 
at that time? Can they have any motives to such a conduct 
now, which they had not then? 

Z. I cannot say. 

X. Nor can I. If a militia be necessary for the safety of 
the province, I hope we shall not boggle at this little difficulty. 
What else is objected? 

Z. I have heard this objected, That it were better the gov- 
ernor should appoint the officers; for, the choice being in 
the people, a man very unworthy to be an officer may happen 
to be popular enough to get himself chosen by the undis- 
cerning mob. 

X. 'Tis possible. And if all officers appointed by gov- 
ernors were always men of merit, and fully qualified for their 
posts, it would be wrong ever to hazard a popular election. 
It is reasonable, I allow, that the commander-in-chief should 
not have officers absolutely forced upon him, in whom, from 
his knowledge of their incapacity, he can place no confidence. 
And, on the other hand, it seems likely that the people will 
engage more readily in the service, and face danger with more 
intrepidity, when they are commanded by a man they know 


and esteem, and on whose prudence and courage, as well as 
good-will and integrity, they can have reliance, than they 
would under a man they either did not know, or did not like. 
For supposing governor (sic) ever so judicious and upright 
in the distribution of commissions, they cannot know every- 
body, in every part of the province, and are liable to be 
imposed on by partial recommendations ; but the people gen- 
erally know their neighbours. And to me, the act in question 
seems to have hit a proper medium between the two modes 
of appointing: The people chuse, and if the governor ap- 
proves, he grants the commission ; if not, they are to chuse 
a second, and even a third time. Out of three choices, 'tis 
probable one may be right ; and where an officer is approved 
both by superiors and inferiors, there is the greatest prospect 
of those advantages that attend a good agreement in the ser- 
vice. This mode of choice is moreover agreeable to the 
liberty and genius of our constitution. 'Tis similar to the 
manner in which by our laws sheriffs and coroners are chosen 
and approved. And yet it has more regard to the preroga- 
tive than the mode of choice in some colonies, where the 
military officers are either chosen absolutely by the companies 
themselves, or by the house of representatives, without any 
negative on that choice, or any approbation necessary from 
the governor. 

Y. But is that agreeable to the English constitution? 

X. Considered in this light, I think it is ; British subjects, 
by removing into America, cultivating a wilderness, extend- 
ing the dominion, and increasing the wealth, commerce, 
and power of their mother country, at the hazard of their 
lives and fortunes, ought not, and in fact do not thereby lose 
their native rights. There is a power in the crown to grant 

1/55] A DIALOGUE 311 

a continuance of those rights to such subjects, in any part of 
the world, and to their posterity born in such new country ; 
and for the farther encouragement and reward of such merit, 
to grant additional liberties and privileges, not used in Eng- 
land, but suited to the different circumstances of different 
colonies. If then the grants of those additional liberties 
and privileges may be regularly made under an English 
constitution, they may be enjoyed agreeable to that constitu- 

F. But the act is very short; there are numberless cir- 
cumstances and occasions pertaining to a body of armed 
men, which are not, as they ought to have been, expressly 
provided for in the act. 

X. Tis true, there are not express provisions in the act 
for all circumstances; but there is a power lodged by the 
act in the governor and field-officers of the regiments, to make 
all such provisions, in the articles of war which they may 
form and establish. 

Y. But can it be right in the legislature, by any act, to 
delegate their power of making laws to others? 

X. I believe not, generally; but certainly in particular 
cases it may. Legislatures may, and frequently do give 
to corporations, power to make bye- laws for their own gov- 
ernment. And in this case, the act of parliament gives the 
power of making articles of war for the government of the 
army, to the king alone, and there is no doubt but the par- 
liament understands the rights of government. 

Y. Are you sure the act of parliament gives such power? 

X. This is the act. The power I mention is here in sec- 
tion 55. "Provided always, that it shall and may be lawful 
to and for his majesty, to form, make, and establish articles 


of war for the better government of his majesty's forces, 
and for bringing offenders against the same to justice; and 
to erect and constitute courts- martial, with power to try, 
hear, and determine any crimes or offences by such articles 
of war, and inflict penalties by sentence or judgment of the 
same." And here you see, bound up with the act, the articles 
of war, made by his majesty in pursuance of the act, and 
providing for every circumstance. 

Z. It is, sure enough. I had been told that our act of 
assembly was impertinently singular in this particular. 

X. The g r himself, in a message to the house, expressly 
recommended this act of parliament for their imitation, in 
forming the militia bill. 

Z. I never heard that before. 

X. But it is true. The assembly, however, (considering 
that this militia would consist chiefly of freeholders,) have 
varied a little from that part of the act of parliament, in 
favour of liberty ; they have not given the sole power of mak- 
ing those articles of war to the governor, as that act does to 
the king; but have joined with the governor, for that pur- 
pose, a number of officers to be chosen by the people. The 
articles, moreover, are not to be general laws, binding on all 
the province, nor on any man who has not first approved of 
them, and voluntarily engaged to observe them. 

Z. Is there no danger that the governor and officers may 
make those articles too severe? 

X. Not without you can suppose them enemies to the 
service, and to their country : for if they should make such 
as are unfit for freemen and Englishmen to be subjected to, 
they will get no soldiers ; nobody will engage. In some cases, 
however, if you and I were in actual service, I believe we 

1755] ^ DIALOGUE 313 

should both think it necessary for our own safety, that the 
articles should be pretty severe. 

Z. What cases are they? 

X. Suppose a centinel should betray his trust, give intel- 
ligence to the enemy, or conduct them into our quarters. 

Z. To be sure there should be severe punishments for 
such crimes, or we might all be ruined. 

X. Chuse reasonable men for your officers, and you need 
not fear their making reasonable laws; and if they make 
such, I hope reasonable men will not refuse to engage under 

Y. But here is a thing I don't like. By this act of 
assembly, the Quakers are neither compelled to muster, nor 
to pay a fine if they don't. 

X. It is true; nor could they be compelled either to 
muster or pay a fine of that kind, by any militia law made 
here. They are exempted by the charter and fundamental 
laws of the province. 

Y. How so? 

X. See here; it is the first clause in the charter. I'll 
read it. " Because no people can be truly happy, though 
under the greatest enjoyment of civil liberties, if abridged 
of the freedom of their consciences as to their religious pro- 
fession and worship : And Almighty God being the only lord 
of conscience, father of lights and spirits, and the author as 
well as object of all divine knowledge, faith, and worship, 
who only doth enlighten the minds, and persuade and con- 
vince the understandings of people ; I do hereby grant and 
declare, That no person or persons inhabiting in this province 
or territories, who shall confess and acknowledge one Al- 
mighty God, the creator, upholder, and ruler of the world, 


and profess him or themselves obliged to live quietly under 
the civil government, shall be, IN ANY CASE, MOLESTED OR 
PREJUDICED in his or their PERSON or ESTATE because of his 
or their conscientious persuasion or practice, nor be com- 
pelled to frequent or maintain any religious worship, place, 
or ministry, contrary to his or their mind, or to DO OR SUFFER 
any OTHER ACT OR THING, contrary to their religious per- 
suasion. " And, in the 8th section of the same charter, you 
see a declaration, that " neither the proprietor, nor his heirs 
or assigns, shall procure or do any thing or things, whereby 
the liberties in this charter contained or expressed, nor any 
part thereof, shall be infringed or broken ; and if any thing 
shall be procured or done by any person or persons, contrary 
to these presents, it shall be held of NO FORCE OR EFFECT." 
This liberty of conscience granted by charter, is also estab- 
lished by the first law in our book, and confirmed by the crown. 
And moreover, the governor has an express instruction from 
the proprietaries, that, in case of making any militia law, he 
shall take especial care that the charter be not infringed in 
this respect. Besides, most of our petitions for a militia 
from the moderate part of the people, requested particularly 
that due regard might be had to scrupulous and tender 
consciences. When taxes are raised, however, for the king's 
service, the Quakers and Menonists pay their part of them, 
and a great part ; for as their frugality and industry makes 
them generally wealthy, their proportion is the greater com- 
pared with their numbers. And out of these taxes those men 
are paid who go into actual service. As for mustering and 
training, no militia are anywhere paid for that. It is by many 
justly delighted in, as a manly exercise. But those who are 
engaged in actual service for any time, ought undoubtedly 
to have pay. 

1755] A DIALOGUE 315 

F. There is no provision in this militia act to pay them. 

X. There is a provision, that no regiment, company, or 
party, though engaged in the militia, shall be obliged "to 
more than three days' march, &c., without an express 
engagement for that purpose, first voluntarily entered into 
and subscribed by every man, so to march or remain in gar- 
rison." And 'tis to be supposed', that no man will subscribe 
such particular engagement without reasonable pay, or other 

F. But where is that pay to come from? 

X. From the government to be sure; and out of the 
money struck by the act for granting 60,000. 

Z. Yes ; but those who serve must pay a share of the tax, 
as well as those who don't. 

X. Perhaps not. 'Tis to be supposed, that those who 
engage in the service for any time, upon pay, will be chiefly 
single men, and they are expressly exempted from the tax 
by the 60,000 act. Consequently those who do not serve, 
must pay the more; for the sum granted must be made 

Z. I never heard before, that they were exempted by that 

X. It is so, I assure you. 

F. But there is no provision in the militia act for the 

X. If they are poor, they are provided for by the laws of 
their country. There is no other provision by any militia 
law that I know of. If they have behaved well, and suffered 
in their country's cause, they deserve, moreover, some grate- 
ful notice of their service, and some assistance from the com- 
mon treasury ; and if any particular township should happen 


to be overburthened, they may, on application to the govern- 
ment, reasonably expect relief. 

Z. Though the Quakers, and others conscientiously scru- 
pulous of bearing arms, are exempted, as you say, by charter, 
they might, being a majority in the assembly, have made the 
law compulsory on others. At present, 'tis so loose, that 
nobody is obliged by it, who does not voluntarily engage. 

X. They might indeed have made the law compulsory 
on all others. But it seems, they thought it more equitable 
and generous to leave to all as much liberty as they enjoy 
themselves, and not lay even a seeming hardship on others, 
which they themselves declined to bear. They have, how- 
ever, granted all we asked of them. Our petitions set forth, 
that "we were freely willing and ready to defend ourselves 
and country, and all we wanted was legal authority, order, 
and discipline." These are now afforded by the law, if we 
think fit to make use of them. And indeed I do not see the 
advantage of compelling people of any sect into martial ser- 
vice, merely for the sake of raising numbers. I have been 
myself in some service of danger, and I always thought 
cowards rather weakened than strengthened the party. Fear 
is contagious, and a pannic once begun spreads like wildfire, 
and infects the stoutest heart. All men are not by nature 
brave ; and a few who are so, will do more effectual service 
by themselves, than when accompanied by, and mixed with, 
a multitude of poltroons, who only create confusion, and give 
advantage to the enemy. 

Z. What signifies what you thought or think? Others 
think differently ; And all the wise legislatures in the other 
colonies have thought fit to compell all sorts of persons to 
bear arms, or suffer heavy penalties. 

1755] A DIALOGUE 317 

X. As you say, what I thought, or think, is not of much 
consequence. But a wiser legislator than all those you 
mention put together, and who better knew the nature of 
mankind, made his military law very different from theirs 
in that respect. 

Z. What legislator do you mean? 

X. I mean God himself, who would have no man led to 
battle that might rather wish to be at home, either from fear 
or other causes. 

Z. Where do you find that law? 

X. 'Tis in the 2oth chapter of Deuteronomy, where are 
these words, When thou goest out to battle against thine 
enemies, the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, 
What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not 
dedicated it ? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die 
in the battle, and another man dedicate it. And what man is 
he that hath planted a vineyard, and hath not yet eaten oj it ? 
Let him also go and return unto his house, lest he die in the 
battle, and another man eat of it. And what man is there that 
hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? Let him go 
and return unto his house, lest he die in battle, and another 
man take her. And 

Z. These all together could not be many ; and this has no 
relation to cowardice. 

X. If you had not interrupted me, I was coming to that part 
verse 8, And the officers shall speak farther unto the people, 
and they shall say, What man is there that is FEARFUL and 
FAINT-HEARTED ? Let him go and return unto his house, lest 
his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart; that is, lest he 
communicate his fears, and his brave brethren catch the con- 
tagion, to the ruin of the whole army. Accordingly we find, 


that under this military law, no people in the world fought 
more gallantly, or performed greater actions, than the Hebrew 
soldiery. And if you would be informed what proportion of 
people would be discharged by such a proclamation, you will 
find that matter determined by an actual experiment, made 
by General Gideon, as related in the yth Chapter of Judges: 
for he, having assembled 32,000 men against the Midianites, 
proclaimed, according to law, (verse the third,) Whosoever 
is FEARFUL and AFRAID, let him return and depart early from 
Mount Gilead. 

Z. And pray how many departed? 

X. The text says, there departed 22,000, and there re- 
mained but 10,000. A very great sifting! and yet on that 
particular occasion a farther sifting was required. Now it 
seems to me, that this militia law of ours, which gives the brave 
all the advantages that they can desire, of order, authority, 
discipline, and the like, and compells no cowards into their 
company, is such a kind of sieve, as the Mosaic proclamation. 
For with us, not only every man who has built a house, or 
planted a vineyard, or betrothed a wife, or is afraid of his 
flesh; but the narrow bigot, filled with sectarian malice (if 
such there be) who hates Quakers more than he loves his 
country, his friends, his wife or family, may say, 7 won't 
engage, for I don't like the act; or, / don't like the officers 
that are chosen; or, / don't like the articles of war; and so we 
shall not be troubled with them, but all that engage will be 

Z. For my part, I am no coward, but hang me if I'll fight 
to save the Quakers. 

X. That is to say, you won't pump ship, because 'twill 
save the rats, as well as yourself. 

1755] A DIALOGUE 319 

F. You have answered most of the objections I have 
heard against the act to my satisfaction; but there is one 
remaining. The method of carrying it into execution seems 
so roundabout, I am afraid we cannot have the benefit of it 
in any reasonable time. 

X. I cannot see much in that objection. The several 
neighbourhoods out of which companies are formed, may 
meet and chuse their company officers in one and the same 
day; and the regiments may be formed, and field-officers 
chosen, in a week or ten days after, who may immediately 
proceed to consider the several militia laws of Britain and 
the colonies, and, (with the governor,) form out of them such 
articles, as will appear most suitable for the freemen of this 
province, who incline to bear arms voluntarily ; and the whole 
may be in order in a month from the first elections, if common 
diligence be used. And indeed, as the colonies are at 
present the prize contended for between Britain and France, 
and the latter, by the last advices, seems to be meditating 
some grand blow, part of which may probably fall on Pen- 
sylvania, either by land or sea, or both, it behoves us, I think, 
to make the best use we can of this act, and carry it immedi- 
ately into execution, both in town and country. If there are 
any material defects in it, experience will best discover them, 
and show what is proper or necessary to amend them. The 
approaching winter will afford us some time to arm and pre- 
pare, and more leisure, than other seasons, for exercising 
and improving in good discipline. 

Z. But if this act should be carried into execution, prove a 
good one, and answer the end, what shall we have to say 
against the Quakers at the next election? 

X . O my friends, let us on this occasion cast from us all 


these little party views, and consider ourselves as Englishmen 
and Pensylvanians. Let us think only of the service of our 
king, the honour and safety of our country, and vengeance 
on its murdering enemies. If good be done, what imports 
it by whom 'tis done ? The glory of serving and saving others 
is superior to the advantage of being served or secured. Let 
us resolutely and generously unite in our country's cause, 
(in which to die is the sweetest of all deaths) and may the 
God of armies bless our honest endeavours. 


Easton, Saturday Night, Dec. 27, 1755. 


I received yours of the 24th with Pleasure which acquainted 
me of your and the Family's Welfare. I am glad to hear, 
that the Companies are forming in Town and chusing their 
Officers, and hope the Example will be followed throughout 
the Country. We all continue well, but much harass' d 
with Business ; after many Difficulties and Disappointments 
we march'd two Companies yesterday over the Mountains, 
viz, Aston' s and Trump's. We wait here only for Shoes, 
Arms, and Blankets, expected hourly, and then shall move 
towards Berks County. Our Compliments to Mrs. Masters 
and all enquiring Friends. When you write next, direct to 
Mr. Read's Care at Reading. My Duty to Mother, and 
Love to the Children. I hope to find you all well at my 
Return. My Love to Mr. Hall; we have no fresh News 
here of Mischief, to be depended on. Send the Newspapers, 
and my Letters to Reading; and let me have all the little 


News about the X Y Z Proceedings, Officers, &c. I am 
oblig'd to Goody Smith for kindly remembring me. My 
Love to her. I am, with great Affection, your loving Hus- 



At Bethlehem in the County 

of Northampton January 12, 1756 

To Capt. Vanetta of the 1 
Township of upper Smithfield J 


1. You are to proceed immediately to raise a Company 
of Foot, consisting of 30 able Men, including two Serjeants, 
with which you are to protect the Inhabitants of upper 
Smithfield assisting them while they thresh out and secure 
their Corn, and scouting from time to time as you judge 
necessary on the outside of the Settlements, with such of 
the Inhabitants as may join you, to discover the Enemy's 
Approaches, and repel their Attacks. 

2. For the better Security of the Inhabitants of that 
District, you are to post your Men as follows, Eight at your 
own House, Eight at Lieutenant Henshaw's, Six with a 
Serjeant at Tishhoch , and Six with another Serjeant 
at or near Henry Cortracht's, and you are to settle Signals 
or Means of suddenly Alarming the Inhabitants and conven- 
ing your whole Strength, with the Militia of the District, 
on any necessary Occasion. 

3. Every Man is to be engaged for one month, and as 
the Province cannot at present furnish Arms or Blankets 
to your Company, you are to allow every Man enlisting, 

VOL. Ill Y 


and bringing his own Arms & Blankets, a Dollar for the 
Use thereof over and above his Pay. 

4. You are to furnish your Men with Provisions not 
exceeding the Allowance mentioned in the Paper herewith 
given you, and your reasonable accounts for the same shall 
be allowed and paid. 

5. You are to keep a Diary or Journal of every Day's 
Transactions, and an exact Account of the Time when 
each Man enters himself with you, and if any Man desert 
or die, you are to note the Time in your Journal, and the 
Time of engaging a new Man in his place, and submit your 
Journal to the inspection of the Governor when required. 

6. You are to acquaint the Men, that if in their Ranging 
they meet with or are at any Time Attack'd by the Enemy, 
and kill any of them, Forty Dollars will be allow'd and paid 
by the Government for each Scalp of an Indian Enemy so 
killed, the same being produced with proper Attestations. 

7. You are to take care that your Stores and Provisions 
are not wasted. 

8. If by any Means you gain Intelligence of the Designs 
of the Enemy, or the March of any of their Parties towards 
any part of the Frontier, you are to send Advice thereof to 
the Governor and to the other Companies in the Neighbor- 
hood, as the Occasion may require. 

9. You are to keep good Order among your Men, and 
prevent Drunkenness and other Immoralities, as much as 
may be, and not suffer them to do any Injury to the In- 
habitants whom they come to protect. 

10. You are to take Care that the Men keep their Arms 
clean and in good Order, and that their Powder be always 
kept dry and fit for Use. 


ii. You are to make up your Muster Roll at the Month's 
End, in order to receive the Pay of your Company, and to 
make Oath to the Truth thereof before a Justice of the Peace, 
and then transmit the same to the Governor. 



Bethlehem, Jan. 15, 1756. 

We move this Day for Gnadenhutten. If you have not 
Cash sufficient, call upon Mr. Moore, the Treasurer, with 
that Order of the Assembly, and desire him to pay you 100^ 
of it. If he has not Cash in hand, Mr. Norris (to whom 
my Respects) will advance it for him. We shall have with 
us, about 130 Men, and shall endeavour to act cautiously, 
so as to give the Enemy no Advantage thro' our Negligence. 
Make yourself therefore easy. Give my hearty Love to all 
Friends. I hope in a Fortnight or three Weeks, God willing, 
to see the intended Line of Forts finished, and then shall 
make a Trip to Philadelphia, and send away the Lottery 
Tickets, and pay off the Prizes, etc, tho' you may pay such 
as come to hand of those sold in Philadelphia, of my signing. 
They were but few, the most being sold abroad; and those 
that sold them and receiv'd the Money will pay off the Prizes. 
I hope you have paid Mrs. Stephens for the Bills. I am, 
my dear Child, your loving Husband, 




Gnadenhutten, January 25, 1756. 


This day week we arrived here. I wrote to you the same 
day, and once since. We all continue well, thanks be to 
God. We have been hindered with bad weather, yet our 
fort is in a good defensible condition, and we have every day 
more convenient living. Two more are to be built, one on 
each side of this, at about fifteen miles' distance. I hope 
both will be done in a week or ten days, and then I purpose 
to bend my course homewards. 

We have enjoyed your roast beef, and this day began on the 
roast veal. All agree that they are both the best that ever 
were of the kind. Your citizens, that have their dinners 
hot and hot, know nothing of good eating. We find it in 
much greater perfection when the kitchen is four score miles 
from the dining room. 

The apples are extremely welcome, and do bravely to eat 
after our salt pork ; the minced pies are not yet come to hand, 
but I suppose we shall find them among the things expected 
up from Bethlehem on Tuesday ; the capillaire 2 is excellent, 
but none of us having taken cold as yet, we have only tasted 

As to our lodging, it is on deal featherbeds, in warm blan- 
kets, and much more comfortable than when we lodged at 
our inn, the first night after we left home; for the woman 
being about to put very damp sheets on the bed, we desired 

1 From "The Works of Dr. Benjamin Franklin," 1817, Vol. VI, p. 8. ED. 

2 A syrup flavoured with orange flower water. ED. 


her to air them first; half an hour afterwards, she told us 
the bed was ready, and the sheets well aired. I got into 
bed, but jumped out immediately, finding them as cold as 
death, and partly frozen. She had aired them indeed, but 
it was out upon the hedge. I was forced to wrap myself 
up in my great coat and woollen trowsers. Every thing 
else about the bed was shockingly dirty. 

As I hope in a little time to be with you and my family, 
and chat things over, I now only add, that I am, dear Debby, 

your affectionate husband, 



Fort Allen, at Gnadenhutten, January 26, 1756. 


We left Bethlehem, the i6th instant, with Foulke's com- 
pany forty-six men, the detachment of M c Laughlin's twenty, 
and seven wagons laden with stores and provisions. We got 
that night to Hays's quarters, where Wayne's company 
joined us from Nazareth. The next day we marched cau- 
tiously through the gap of the mountain, a very dangerous 
pass, and got to Uplinger's, twenty-one miles from Bethle- 
hem, the roads being bad, and the wagons moving slowly. 

This present Monday we are erecting a third house in the 
fort to accommodate the garrison. As soon as Captain Hays 
returns with the convoy of stores and provisions, which I 
hope may be to-morrow, I purpose to send Arndt and Hays 
to join Captain Trump in erecting the middle fort there, 
purposing to remain here between them and Foulke, ready 


to assist and supply both, as occasion may require; and I 
hope in a week or ten days, weather favouring, that those 
two forts may be finished, the line of forts completed and 
garrisoned, the rangers in motion, and the intermediate 
guards and watches disbanded, unless they are permitted 
and encouraged to go after the enemy to the Susquehanna. 

At present the expense in this county is prodigious. We 
have on foot and in pay the following companies, viz. 
Trump's, consisting of fifty men; Aston's, fifty; Wayne's, 
fifty-five; Foulke's, forty-six; Trexler's, forty-eight; and 
Wetherhold's, forty-four, without the Fork; Arndt's, fifty; 
Craig's, thirty; and Martin's, thirty, in the Irish settle- 
ments; Van Elten's, thirty, at Minisink; Hays's, forty-five; 
detachment of M c Laughlin's, twenty; Parsons's, twenty- 
four, at Easton; total, five hundred and twenty-two. 

This, Sir, is a particular account of our transactions, and 
the present state of affairs in this county. I am glad to 
learn, by your favour of the 2ist, just received, that you have 
thoughts of coming to Bethlehem, as I may hope for an 
opportunity of waiting upon your Honour there, after our 
works are finished, and of communicating every thing more 
fully, I now only add, that I am, with dutiful respect, Sir, &c. 



Fort Allen, at Gnadenhutten, January 30, 1756. 


Every other day, since we have been here, it has rained, 
more or less, to our no small hindrance. It rained yester- 

1 From "The Works of Dr. Benjamin Franklin," 1817, Vol. VI, p. 10. ED. 


day, and now again to day, which prevented our marching; 
so I will sit down half an hour to confer a little with you. 

All the things you sent me, from time to time, are safely 
come to hand, and our living grows every day more com- 
fortable; yet there are many things we still want, but do 
not send for them, as we hope our stay here will not be long. 

I thought to have wrote you a long letter, but here comes 
in a number of people, from different parts, that have business 
with me, and interrupt me ; we have but one room, and that 
quite public ; so I can only add, that I have just received yours, 
Sally's, and Grace's letters, of the 25th, with one from Mr. 
Hughes, and one from Mr. Thomson. Present my respects 
to those gentlemen (and excuse my not writing, as I have 
nothing material, and am much hurried), and love to all 
our friends and neighbours. Billy presents his duty to you, 
and love to his sister; all the gentlemen their compliments; 
they drink your health at every meal, having always some- 
thing on the table to put them in mind of you. 

I found, among the newspapers, Mr. Shoen's bills of ex- 
change, which should not have been sent up here ; I suppose 
it was by mistake, and mention it, that you need not be 
troubled to look more for them. 

I am, dear girl, your loving husband, 



Fort Allen, January 31, 1756. 


I wrote a line to you yesterday, and, having this oppor- 
tunity, write another, just to let you know, that we all con- 

1 From "The Works of Dr. Benjamin Franklin," 1817, Vol. VI, p. ii. ED. 


tinue well, and much the better for the refreshments you 
have sent us; in short, we do very well; for, though there 
are a great number of things, besides what we have, that used 
to seem necessary to comfortable living, yet we have learned 
to do without them. 

Mr. Beatty is a very useful man here, and the Doctor 
another. Besides their services to the public, they are very 
agreeable companions to me. They, with Captain Clapham, 
Mr. Edmond, and the rest of our company, present their 
hearty respects to you for the goodies. Billy * presents his 
duty to you and his grandmother, and love to his sister. 
Distribute my compliments among our acquaintance, and 
hearty love to all friends. The bearer waits, so that I 
cannot write to my dear Sally. I am, dear girl, your loving 
husband, B. FRANKLIN. 


Philadelphia, February 12, 1756. 


I condole with you on the loss of our dear brother. 3 As 
our number grows less, let us love one another proportionably 

I am just returned from my military expedition, and now 
my time is taken up in the Assembly. Providence seems 
to require various duties of me. I know not what will be 
next; but I find, the more I seek for leisure and retirement 

1 William Franklin, afterwards governor of New Jersey. ED. 

2 From " A Collection of the Familiar Letters of Benjamin Franklin," 
Boston, 1833, p. 38. ED. 

8 John Franklin, who died at Boston, in January, 1756, at the age of 
sixty-five. ED. 

1756] TO MISS E. HUBBARD 329 

from business, the more I am engaged in it. Benny, I 
understand, inclines to leave Antigua. He may be in the 
right. I have no objection. My love to brother and to your 
children. I am, dearest sister, your affectionate brother, 



Philadelphia, February 23, 1756. 

I condole with you. We have lost a most dear and 
valuable relation. But it is the will of God and nature, that 
these mortal bodies be laid aside, when the soul is to enter 
into real life. This is rather an embryo state, a preparation 
for living. A man is not completely born until he be dead. 
Why then should we grieve, that a new child is born among 
the immortals, a new member added to their happy society ? 

We are spirits. That bodies should be lent us, while they 
can afford us pleasure, assist us in acquiring knowledge, 
or in doing good to our fellow creatures, is a kind and benevo- 
lent act of God. When they become unfit for these purposes, 
and afford us pain instead of pleasure, instead of an aid 
become an incumbrance, and answer none of the intentions 
for which they were given, it is equally kind and benevolent, 
that a way is provided by which we may get rid of them. 
Death is that way. We ourselves, in some cases, prudently 
choose a partial death. A mangled painful limb, which 
cannot be restored, we willingly cut off. He who plucks 

1 John Franklin married a second wife, by the name of Hubbard, a widow. 
Miss E. Hubbard, to whom this letter was addressed, was her daughter by a 
former marriage. This letter is printed from " A Collection of the Familiar 
Letters of Benjamin Franklin," Boston, 1833, p. 39. ED. 


out a tooth, parts with it freely, since the pain goes with it ; 
and he, who quits the whole body, parts at once with all 
pains and possibilities of pains and diseases which it was 
liable to, or capable of making him suffer. 

Our friend and we were invited abroad on a party of 
pleasure, which is to last for ever. His chair was ready first, 
and he is gone before us. We could not all conveniently 
start together; and why should you and I be grieved at 
this, since we are soon to follow, and know where to find 
him? Adieu. B. FRANKLIN. 

218. TO TIMOTHY HORSEFIELD 1 (A. p. s.) 

Philad a . March i. 56 

Orders are gone up to relieve Capt. Wayne's Company. 
I suppose he will apply here for his Pay. 

Capt. Arndt should make out his Muster Roll on Oath, 
& send his Journal &c. according to the Instructions given 
him, before he demands his Pay. However you may pay 
him Fifty Pounds in part; and let him know, that the 
Remainder will be paid when the Commissioners have his 
Muster Roll laid before them. 

It is not worth while to send up a Waggon with a Cag of 
Rum to M r Parsons. If he had bought some on Acct of 
the Province he need not have doubted its being allow'd 
in his Ace*. 

My Respects to good M rs Horsfield, &c I am, with 
much Esteem D Sir, 

Your most obedt Servt. 


1 From the "TimY Horsefield's Papers," p. 105. 


Please to pay Nicholas Oplinger Fifteen Pounds Nine 
Shillings & Eight pence half penny and take his Receipt in 
full to the 2oth of February past. 


Frederictown, [Virginia,] March 21, 1756. Sunday. 


We got here yesterday Afternoon, and purpose sailing 
to-day, if the Wind be fair. Peter was taken ill with a Fever 
and Pain in his Side before I got to Newcastle. I had him 
blooded there, and put him into the Chair wrapt up warm, 
as he could not bear the Motion of the Horse, and got him 
here pretty comfortably. He went immediately to bed, and 
took some Camomile Tea, and this Morning is about again 
and almost well. I leave my Horses at Mr. Milliken's, 
a Gentleman that lives on Bohemia River. 

Among the Government Orders I left with you, are two 
written ones drawn on Mr. Charles Norris for considerable 
Sums. You did not tell me, when I ask'd you, what Money 
you had in hand; if you want before my Return, present 
one of those Orders to Mr. Norris, and he will pay the whole 
or a Part, as you have Occasion. Billy will also pay you 
some Money, which I did not care to take with me from 
Newcastle. Be careful of your Accounts, particularly about 
the Lottery Affairs. My Duty to Mother, and love to 
Sally, Debby, Gracey, &c., not forgetting the Goodey. 
Desire Dr. Bond to send me some of those Pills by Post. I 
forgot to take any with me. Let Mr. Parker know I rec'd 
the Money he sent me, on the Post- Office and Money- Paper 


Accounts. I forgot to write it to him, tho' I fully intended it. 
If there is Peace I shall probably not come home so soon 
as I purposed to do, in case the Ships from England bring 
a Declaration of War, or in case the Uncertainty continues. 
I am, my dear Child, your loving Husband, 


220. TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN 1 (A. p. s.) 

Williamsburg, March 30. 1756. 


I wrote to you vid New York the Day after my Arrival, 
acquainting you that I had a fine Journey and Passage down 
the Bay, being but four Days from Philadelphia to Col. 
Hunter's, tho' stopt near a Day on the Road. I have been 
well ever since, quite clear of the Dizziness I complain'd 
of, and as gay as a Bird, not beginning yet to long for home, 
the Worry of perpetual Business being yet fresh in my Mem- 
ory. Mr. Hunter is much better than I expected to find 
him, and we are daily employ'd in settling our Affairs. About 
the End of the Week we are to take a Tour into the Country. 
Virginia is a pleasant Country, now in full Spring; the 
People extreamly obliging and polite. I return in the Man- 
of-War to New York with Col. Hunter and his Lady; at 
least this is propos'd ; but if a more convenient Opportunity 
offers, perhaps I may not stay so long as the End of next 
Month, when that Ship is to sail. Present my Duty to Mother, 
Love to Billy, Sally and the rest, not forgetting that Goody. 

1 The business of the post-office seems to have been the object of this 
journey to Virginia. Franklin and Hunter were jointly postmasters-general 
of the colonies. ED. 

1756] TO MRS. JANE MECOM 333 

My respects to Mrs. Masters and all the Officers and in 
short to all Philadelphia. Mr. Hunter presents his compli- 
ments. I am, my dear Debby, your loving Husband, 



New York, June 28, 1756. 


I received here your letter of extravagant thanks, which 
put me in mind of the story of the member of Parliament, 
who began one of his speeches with saying he thanked God 
that he was born and bred a Presbyterian ; on which another 
took leave to observe, that the gentleman must needs be of a 
most grateful disposition, since he was thankful for such 
very small matters. 

You desire me to tell you what I know about Benny's 
removal, and the reasons of it. Some time last year, when 
I returned from a long journey, I found a letter from him, 
which had been some time unanswered, and it was some 
considerable time afterwards, before I knew of an oppor- 
tunity to send an answer. I should first have told you, 
that when I set him up at Antigua, he was to have the use 
of the printing-house on the same terms with his predecessor, 
Mr. Smith ; that is, allowing me one third part of the profits. 
After this, finding him diligent and careful, for his encour- 
agement, I relinquished that agreement, and let him know, 
that as you were removed into a dearer house, if he paid 
you yearly a certain sum, I forget what it was, towards 

1 From " A Collection of the Familiar Letters of Benjamin Franklin," 
Boston, 1833, p. 40. ED. 


discharging your rent, and another small sum to me, in sugar 
and rum for my family use, he need keep no farther accounts 
of the profits, but should enjoy all the rest himself. I can- 
not remember what the whole of both payments amounted 
to, but I think they did not exceed twenty pounds a year. 

The truth is, I intended, from the first, to give him that 
printing-house; but as he was young and inexperienced 
in the world, I thought it best not to do it immediately, but 
to keep him a little dependent for a time, to check the flighty 
unsteadiness of temper, which, on several occasions, he had 
discovered; and what I received from him, I concluded to 
lay out in new letters (or types), that when I should give 
it to him entirely, it might be worth his acceptance ; and if 
I should die first, I put it in my will, that the letters should 
be all new cast for him. 

This proposal of paying you and me a certain annual 
sum did not please him; and he wrote to desire I would, 
explicitly tell him how long that annual payment .was to 
continue; whether, on payment of that, all prior demands 
I had against him, for the arrears of our first agreement, 
were likewise cancelled; and finally insisted, that I would 
name a certain sum, that I would take for the printing- 
house, and allow him to pay it off in parts as he could, and 
then the yearly payments to cease; for, though he had a 
high esteem for me, yet he loved freedom, and his spirit 
could not bear dependence on any man, though he were 
the best man living. 

This was the letter, which casually remained, as I said, 
so long unanswered ; at which he took farther offence ; and, 
before I could answer it, I received another from him, ac- 
quainting me that he had come to a resolution to remove 

1756] TO MRS. JANE MECOM 335 

from the Island; that his resolution was fixed, and nothing 
that could be said to him should move or shake it ; and he pro- 
posed another person to me, to carry on the business in his 
room. This was immediately followed by another and a 
third letter, to the same purpose, all declaring the inflexi- 
bility of his determination to leave the Island, but without 
saying where he proposed to go, or what were his motives. 
So I wrote him, that I would not attempt to change his reso- 
lutions; that I made no objections to his quitting, but wished 
he had let me know where he was going; that, as to the 
person he recommended to succeed him, I had kept the 
office there after Mr. Smith's decease, in hopes it might be 
of use to him (Benny). I did not incline to be concerned 
with any other there. However, if the person would buy it, 
I named the price ; if not, I directed it to be packed up and 
sent home. All I desired of him was to discharge what he 
owed to Mr. Strahan, bookseller in London, one of my 
friends, who had credited him on my recommendation. 

By this post I received the enclosed letter, and understand 
the things are all arrived. I shall be very glad to hear he 
does better in another place, but I fear he will not for some 
years be cured of his fickleness, and get fixed to any purpose ; 
however, we must hope for the best, as with this fault he 
has many good qualities and virtues. 

My love to brother and children, and to all that love you. 
I am, dear sister, your affectionate brother. 



222. TO WILLIAM PARSONS l (A. p. s.) 

New York, June 28, 1756. 


I have received here your Favour of the iQth Instant, 
with a Copy of your Remarks in Reviewing the Forts, for 
which I am much obliged to you ; and I hope the Governor 
and Commissioners will immediately take the necessary 
Measures to remedy every thing that you found amiss. I 
think you hazarded yourself with too small Escorts, and 
am glad you got safe through. It appears plainly, that it 
will be of great Use to review the Forts frequently. The 
Expence must be inconsiderable, compared to the Advan- 
tage and Security that may be deriv'd from it. 

Great Part of two British Regiments are arrived here. 
The Men are all in Health, and look exceeding well. What 
will be undertaken this Summer is, I believe, unknown, or 
uncertain till the General's Arrival. Some of the Officers 
think this Year will be chiefly spent in Preparations for the 
next. Others imagine there will be an Accommodation. 
For my part I can make no Judgment. This only I can 
plainly see, that New York is growing immensely rich, 
by Money brought into it from all Quarters for the Pay 
and Subsistence of the Troops. General Shirley, it is said, 
is to go home in the same Ship, that brings Lord Loudoun, 
and to be made one of the Lords of Trade. The Indians 
continue to scalp now and then a Man too close to Albany, 
Oswego, and the Camps. The New England Forces are 
not yet compleat. Those Colonies have overdone them- 

1 Contained in the "TimY Horsefield Papers" (A. P. S.). ED. 


selves, and undertaken too much, more than they are able 
to bear or perform. 

With great Esteem, I am, Dear Friend, affectionately 
yours, B. FRANKLIN. 

223. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 1 (P. c.) 

New York, July 2, 1756. 

DEAR SIR : Being here I take this opportunity of the 
pacquet boat to write you a line, acknowledging the receipt 
of your favour of March i3th, and of the brevier fount, 
which is come to hand in good order, and pleases Mr. Hall 
and me very much. I am much indebted to you for your 
care in that matter, as well as many others. I think our 
account now stands thus: 

Dr. B. Franklin to W. Strahan. Cr. 

1755. s. d. 

Oct. 3. To bal. of acct. 

to this day. 59 4 i 

Mar. 13. To bill paid 

Mr. Voogdt. 2 17 6 

To fount of brevier 58 17 6 

120 19 

s. d. 

Mar. 13. By bill on 
Dr. Chandler. 109 84 

Bal. due W. S. 11 10 

120 19 U 

My nephew, B. Mecom, finding that the business did 
not answer to his mind in Antigua, has determined to quit 
the place, and has accordingly sent home to me the press 
and letters. He writes me that he has lately sent you a 
bill for 100 sterling, and being now employed only in col- 

1 From John Bigelow, "The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin," 
Vol. X, p. 276. ED. 

VOL. Ill Z 


lecting his debts, he hopes soon to send you a bill for the 
balance of your account, about 50 more. As the 20 bill 
you received of me in November, 1753, was only lent to his 
account, and he will now pay his whole balance without 
reckoning that 20; you will please take it back to my 
account when he has settled and paid off his; whereby a 
balance will remain in my favour. But, in the meantime 
lest that should not be so soon done as he proposes, that you 
may not be longer in advance for me, I enclose a little bill 
on Mr. Collinson, for 11 los. pjd., the balance due to you, 
but desire you would not forget to take back the 20 into 
your hands for me, when you settle finally with B. Mecom, 
who writes that he proposes going for England this present 

You judge rightly that my many employments and jour- 
neys of late have prevented my carrying into execution the 
proposed scheme of circulating your magazine. But I think 
now to write to the post-master as soon as I can get home, 
and order the advertisements into the papers. With the 
greatest respect and esteem, I am, dear sir, your obliged 

and most obedient servant, 



New York, July 2, 1756. 

I received your Favour of the 24th of February with great 
Pleasure, as it inform'd me of your Welfare, and expressed 
your continued Regard for me. I thank you for the Pam- 

1 Printed from a facsimile. ED. 


phlet you enclos'd to me. As we had just observ'd a 
Provincial Fast on the same Occasion, I thought it very 
seasonable to be publish' d in Pennsylvania, and accord- 
ingly reprinted it immediately. 

You mention your frequent wish that you were a Chaplain 
to an American Army. I sometimes wish that you and I 
were jointly employ'd by the Crown, to settle a Colony on 
the Ohio. I imagine we could do it effectually, and without 
putting the Nation to much expence. But I fear we shall 
never be called upon for such a Service. What a glorious 
Thing it would be, to settle in that fine Country a large 
strong Body of Religious and Industrious People ! What 
a Security to the other Colonies ; and Advantage to Britain, 
by Increasing her People, Territory, Strength and Commerce. 
Might it not greatly facilitate the Introduction of pure Reli- 
gion among the Heathen, if we could, by such a Colony, 
show them a better Sample of Christians than they com- 
monly see in our Indian Traders, the most vicious and 
abandoned Wretches of our Nation? . . . Life, like a dra- 
matic Piece, should not only be conducted with Regularity, 
but methinks it should finish handsomely. Being now in 
the last Act, I begin to cast about for something fit to end 
with. Or if mine be more properly compar'd to an Epi- 
gram, as some of its few Lines are but barely tolerable, I 
am very desirous of concluding with a bright Point. In 
such an Enterprise I could spend the Remainder of Life 
with Pleasure; and I firmly believe God would bless us 
with Success, if we undertook it with a sincere Regard to 
his Honour, the Service of our gracious King, and (which 
is the same thing) the Publick Good. 

I thank you cordially for your generous Benefaction to 


the German School. They go on pretty well, and will do 
better, when Mr. Smith, who has at present the principal 
Care of them, shall learn to mind Party-writing and Party 
Politicks less, and his proper Business more ; which I hope 
time will bring about. 

I thank you for your good Wishes and Prayers, and am, 
with the greatest Esteem and Affection, Dear Sir 

Your most obedient 
My best Respects to ) humble Servant 

Mrs. Whitefield > B. FRANKLIN. 

225. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 1 (p. c.) 

New York, July 27, 1756 

DEAR SIR : The above is a copy of my last. 2 Since which 
I have received from Philadelphia one of our newspapers, 
printed on the new letter you sent us, and find that it is not 
a brevier body, but larger, and is really and truly no other 
than the burgeois, No. i of Caslon's specimen now lying 
before me, which burgeois is marked by a pen with his own 
hand, Price 23. So that the charging it as brevier at 2s. 6d. 
is an imposition of twenty-five per cent., which is too much 
to bear, and, therefore, I do insist on his doing me justice, 
and refunding the additional six-pences ; or he will forfeit 
the character he always bore with me, that of an honest 
man. I enclose you a piece of the newspaper for your satis- 
faction. Compare it with his specimen, and you will find 
what I say precisely true. The sum to be returned is 11 

1 From John Bigelow, " The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin," Vol. 
X, p. 278. ED. 

2 See letter to William Strahan, July 2, 1756. ED. 


155. 6d., for which when received please give to my account 

Lord Loudon arrived last week. I have had the honour 
of several conferences with him on our American affairs, 
and am extremely pleased with him. I think there cannot 
be a fitter person for the service he is engaged in. 

I propose to return to-morrow to Philadelphia, where I 
hope things will soon be on a better footing, as we expect a 
new governor, of whom we hear a good character. 

My best compliments to Mrs. Strahan and your children. 

I am, dear friend, yours affectionately, 


P. S. Since my last I have a letter from B. Mecom, who 
writes that he has sent you a 60 bill. I send a whole news- 
paper instead of a piece mentioned above, as there is some 
news in it. 


Philadelphia, August 19, 1756. 

I have done myself the honour to write you twice since 
my return, relating to the proposed road; but have as yet 
had no line from you. 

Enclosed I send you a copy of the late treaty, or con- 
ference, at Easton, with a letter from Bishop Spangenberg 
to Mr. Norris, by which you will see nothing is likely to 

1 Thomas Pownall (1722-1805), commonly called Governor Pownall, came 
to America in 1753 as private secretary to Sir Danvers Osborn, governor of 
New York. In 1757 he succeeded General Shirley as governor of Massachu- 
setts. He was a member of Parliament from 1768 to 1780, and opposed with 
much boldness and ability the ministerial measures against the colonies. ED. 


come of the treaty. The Indians are preparing to continue 
the war, and we see of how little consequence Sir William 
Johnson's treaty has been in our behalf. For my own part, 
I make no doubt but the Six Nations have privily encour- 
aged these Indians to fall upon us. They have taken no 
step to defend us, as their allies, nor to prevent the mischief 
done us. I look upon the application made through Sir 
William Johnson to these nations to procure us peace, as 
the most unfortunate step we ever took; for we tied up the 
hands of our people, till we heard the result of that applica- 
tion. The affair was drawn out to great length of time, 
and in the mean while our frontier people were continually 
butchered, and at last either dispersed or dispirited. In 
short, I do not believe we shall ever have a firm peace with 
the Indians, till we have well drubbed them. 

Our frontiers are greatly distressed, as you will see by 
the enclosed letters. The people are also distressed by the 
enlisting of their servants ; but, if Lord Loudoun would order 
the recruits, now near five hundred, to march up and take 
post on the frontiers, in the forts there, where they would find 
good barracks, and might be of great use to the inhabitants, it 
would be a most acceptable thing to the whole province. 
In this Mr. Norris joins with me, as well as in compliments 
to his Lordship and yourself. 

The Assembly are met, and in a very good disposition 
toward the service; but, the new governor being hourly 
expected, nothing can be done till his arrival. He is, we 
hear, on the road from York. I am, Sir, &c. 




Philadelphia, August 19, 1756. 

I have your favours of July 23d and August 3d, but that 
you mention to have wrote by Mr. Balfour is not come to 
hand. I forwarded the packet enclosed in that of July 23d, 
as directed, and shall readily take care of any other letters 
from you, that pass through my hands. The post, between 
this place and Winchester, was established for the accom- 
modation of the army chiefly, by a vote of our Assembly. 
They are not willing to continue the charge, and it must, I 
believe, be dropped, unless your Assembly and that of Mary- 
land will contribute to support it, which, perhaps, is scarce 
to be expected. 

I am sorry it should be laid down, as I shall myself be a 
loser in the affair of newspapers. But the letters per post 
by no means defray the expense. If you can prevail with 
your Assembly to pay the rider from Winchester to Car- 
lisle, I will endeavour to persuade ours to continue paying 
the rider from Carlisle hither. My agreement with the 
house was, to carry all public despatches gratis, to keep 
account of postage received for private letters, and charge 
the expense of riders and offices; and they were to pay the 
balance. I am, Sir, with great esteem and respect, &c. 


P. S. We have just received news, that the Delaware 
Indians, with whom we treated lately at Easton, have burnt 
the goods they received as presents, and resolved to con- 
tinue the war. 


228. TO CATHERINE RAY 1 (P. c.) 

Philada Aug. 26, 1756. 

I RECEIVED your very agreeable Line of the 2d Inst. in which 
you tell me you would write me a long Letter, but that you 
expect soon to see me in Boston. I know not now when I 
shall enjoy that Pleasure, being more involved in publick 
Affairs than ever: so that I cannot be so long out of the 
Province as such a Journey requires; therefore, dear Girl, 
write me all your little News, for it is extremely entertaining 
to me 

Your Apology for being in Boston, "that you must visit 
that Sister once a year" makes me suspect you are here for 
some other Reason; for why should you think your being 
there would need an Excuse to me when you knew that I 
knew how dearly you lov'd that Sister? Don't offer to hide 
your Heart from me. You know I can conjure. Give my 
best respects to y r Sister, & tell her and all your other Sisters 
and Brothers, that they must behave very kindly to you, & 
love you dearly ; or else I'll send a young Gentleman to steal 
& run away with you, who shall bring you to a Country 
from whence they shall never hear a word of you, without 
paying Postage. Mrs. Franklin joins in Love to you & 
sincere wishes for your welfare, with dear good Girl, 
Your affectionate Friend 


1 From the original in the possession of Mrs. Roelker. ED. 


229. TO PETER COLLINSON l (p. c.) 

Nov. 5. 1756 


The above is a Copy of my last, and I now send the two 
second Bills of Steevens and Ludwell. I wrote them in 
great Hurry being just setting out for the Frontiers to visit 
some of the Forts with the Governor, a long Journey. Since 
our Return, I have scarce had a Moment's Time to write 
to my Friends, the Assembly sitting twice a day, and twice 
a Day the Commission for laying out the last given 30,000 
besides continually, when at home, hearing People who 
have Business to lay before the Assembly or Commissioners. 
And now I am just ordered by the House to attend the Gov- 
ernor at Easton in Northampton County, on a Treaty with 
the Delaware Indians. We set out immediately, so must 
entreat your Excuse if I do not write fully. 

I have before me your several Favours of May 27. June 3. 
June 4 and 30. and July 9. The Quakers have now pretty 
generally declined their Seats in Assembly, very few remain- 
ing. We shall soon see if Matters will be better managed 
by a Majority of different religious Persuasions. The Gov- 
ernor tells me, that you recommended me to him very 
warmly, for which accept my grateful Acknowledgements. 
We have, I think, a very good Understanding with each 
other. He was pleased to offer me any Service in his Power. 
My Answer was that I had at present no Favour to ask ; that 
I was nevertheless oblig'd to him for his frank Offers of Friend- 

1 From the private collection of Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan. ED. 


ship; would always be ready to do him any honest Ser- 
vice, requesting only in Return his good Will and Good 

Your Information of my being chosen a Member of the 
Royal Society, was extreamly agreable, and the more, as 
I had not the least Expectation of ever arriving at that 

The Diploma you mention, is not yet come to hand. I 
must request the Favour of you to present my humble 
Thanks to the Society whose truly noble Designs I wish I 
may be able in any Degree to promote. Please to pay for 
me the Yearly and other Charges that arise on such Occa- 
sions, out of any Money of mine in your Hands. Of late I 
have said nothing to you on Philosophical Subjects, for I 
fear I overdos'd you with my last Pacquet from Boston. 
I had lately a Letter from Paullus Frisi l of St. Alexander's 
College at Milan, who writes to me as if I liv'd in London, 
and desires me to mention a Matter to Mr. Short, 3 which 
I can only do by transcribing that Part of the Letter, and 
desiring you to show it to the Gentleman; viz. "Optarem 
etiam, ut Cl. Short reverentiam meam et gratum animum 
testeris, quodque occasione data animadversiones meas 
circa controversum ilium Newtone errorem judicio ipsius 

I deliver'd the Letter inclos'd in yours of June 3. to Smith. 
But your former Letter relating to his Freemason Sermon 
he never had as I suppose; for I received it when abroad, 

1 L'abbe" Paul Frisi (1728-1784) left Milan about the time this letter was 
written to enter upon the duties of a professorship in the University of Pisa, 
an appointment for which he was indebted to the Grand Duke of Tuscany. 

2 James Short (1710-1768), optician. ED. 


and left it with some other Papers, that I hoped to recover, 
but have not. 

And he and I not being on speaking Terms, I have said 
nothing to him about it. He has scribbled himself into 
universal Dislike here; The Proprietary Faction alone 
countenances him a little; but the Academy dwindles, and 
will come to nothing if he is continued. 

I am sorry we have no good News in this Part of the 
World to ballance your Loss of Minorca. Oswego is taken 
and a fine New England Army collected at Lake George, is, 
thro' Inaction wasted by Sickness and Desertion, so as to 
be at present of little Strength or Value, and I am affraid 
those governments will be unable to produce such another 
for the next Campaign. 

These Northern Colonies have a vast Frontier to defend, 
and the Expence is excessive. Much less Money would 
defray an Expedition by Sea against Quebec: That, in my 
Opinion, will be our most effectual Defence and much 
the cheapest. 

Rankin is not yet arriv'd, on board whome you have put 
the Air Pump etc. The Invoice I have received per last Ship. 

You write that "you hear I ride about with a Party of 
Men with drawn Swords, which gives great Offense to some 

I wonder who could think it worth while to send such 
trifling News to England, or how it has been reprinted so 
as to give Offence. 

I must tell you the Matter as it was. The People happen 
to love me. Perhaps that's my Fault. When I was on the 
Frontier last Winter, a great number of the Citizens, as I 
was told, intended to come out and meet me at my Return 


to express their thankful Sense of my (small) Services. To 
prevent this, I made a forc'd March and got to Town in the 
Night, by which they were disappointed, and some a little 
chagrined. But as I could not fully conceal the Time of 
my setting out for Virginia 20 Officers of my Regiment with 
about 30 Grenadiers, presented themselves on Horseback 
at my Door just as I was going to mount, to accompany me 
to the Ferry about 3 Miles from Town. 'Till we got to the 
end of the Street which is about 200 Yards, the Grenadiers 
took it in their Heads to ride with their Swords drawn, but 
then they put them up peaceably unto their Scabbards, 
without hurting or even terrifying Man, Woman, or Child: 
and from the Ferry where we took leave and parted, they 
all returned as quietly to their Homes. This was the only 
Instance of the Kind; for tho' a greater Number met me at 
my Return, they did not ride with drawn Swords, having 
been told that Ceremony was improper, unless to compli- 
ment some Person of great Distinction. 

I who am totally ignorant of Military Ceremonies, and 
above all things averse to making Show and Parade, or 
doing any useless Thing that can serve only to excite Envy 
or provoke Malice suffer'd at the Time much more Pain 
than I enjoy'd Pleasure and have never since given an Oppor- 
tunity for anything of the Sort. 

The Proprietors you write me word, are greatly incensed 
at some Part of my late Conduct. I am not much concerned 
at that, because if I have offended them by acting right, I 
can, whenever I please, reverse their Displeasure by acting 
wrong. Tho' at present I have not the least Inclination to be 
in their good Graces on those Terms. I have some natural 
Dislike to Persons who so far love Money as to be unjust 

1756] TO PETER COLLIKSOtf 349 

for its sake : I despise their Meanness (as it appears to me) 
in several late Instances, most cordially, and am thankful 
that I never had any Connection with them, or Occasion 
to ask or receive a Favour at their hands. For now I am 
persuaded that I do not oppose their Views from Pique, 
Disappointment, or personal Resentment, but, as I think, 
from a Regard to the Publick good. I may be mistaken in 
what is that Publick Good; but at least I mean well. And 
whenever they appear to me to have the Publick Good in 
View, I think I would as readily serve them as if they were 
my best Friends. I am sometimes asham'd for them, when 
I see them differing with their People for Trifles, and instead 
of being ador'd as they might be, like Demi Gods, become 
the Objects of universal Hatred and Contempt. How must 
they have managed when with all the Power their Charter, 
the Laws and their Wealth gives them, a private Person 
(forgive your Friend a little Vanity, as it's only between 
ourselves) can do more Good in their Country than they, 
because he has the Affections and Confidence of their People, 
and of course some Command of the People's Purses. You 
are ready now to tell me, that Popular Favour is a most 
uncertain Thing. You are right. I blush at having valued 
myself so much upon it. I have done. 

Adieu my dear Friend, and enjoy forever the Esteem of 
all the Good and Worthy, as well as the sincere Affection of 
Your obedient humble Servant 


Inclos'd is a little Memorandum of some Musick and 
Harpsichord Wire which I want for a Friend. If not too 
much out of your way please to send it. 


I did not think I should write so long a Letter. There 
is too much in it about myself. I must mend that Fault 
in my next, but I cannot now correct it in this. 


Easton, November 13, 1756. 


I wrote to you a few days since by a special messenger, 
and enclosed letters for all our wives and sweethearts; ex- 
pecting to hear from you by his return, and to have the 
northern newspapers and English letters per the packet ; but 
he is just now returned without a scrap for poor us. So I 
had a good mind not to write to you by this opportunity ; but 
I never can be ill natured enough even when there is the most 
occasion. The messenger says he left the letters at your 
house, and saw you afterwards at Mr. Duchy's, and told 
you when he would go, and that he lodged at Honey's, next 
door to you, and yet you did not write; so let Goody Smith 
give one more just judgment, and say what should be done to 
you. I think I won't tell you that we are well, nor that we 
expect to return about the middle of the week, nor will I 
send you a word of news ; that 's poz. 

My duty to mother, love to the children, and to Miss 
Betsey and Gracy, &c. &c. I am your loving husband, 


P. S. I have scratched out the loving words, being writ 
in haste by mistake, when I jorgot I was angry. 

1 From "The Works of Dr. Benjamin Franklin," 1817, Vol. VI, p. 14. 


231. TO PETER COLLINSON 1 (P. c.) 

Philad* Nov. 22. 1756 


Since mine of the 5th Instant, a long one, per Capt. Snead, 
I have received the Air Pump and Apparatus per Rankin. 
There is some Breakage of which shall send an Ace*, per next 
Ship, to have the glasses renew'd. We are exceedingly 
oblig'd to you for your Care in the Affair and return you 
cordial Thanks. 

I am just returned from the Forks of Delaware where I 
with some others attended the Governor, at a Conference 
with the Indians. They complain of Injuries from the 
Proprietor. I hope he will give timely Orders to redress 
them when they come down next Spring. It is said by 
many here that the Dela wares were grosly abus'd in the 
Walking Purchase; that they have frequently complain'd, 
and their Complaints were suppress 'd or conceaPd, and the 
6 Nations set on their Backs to make them quiet. That 
they have remember'd these Things and now, by the Con- 
nivance of the 6 Nations, as 'tis thought, and supported by 
the French, they have taken Revenge. Much has the Prov- 
ince suffered by this War; some Hundreds of Lives lost, 
many Farms destroy'd, and near 100,000 spent, yet the 
Proprietor refuses to be taxed except for a trifling Part of 
his Estate; the Quitrents, located unimproved Lands, 
Money at Interest etc, etc, being exempted by Instructions 
to the Governor. Which is the harder, if by his Ill-Treat- 
1 From the private collection of Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan. ED. 


merit of the Indians the War has in any Degree been occa- 

The 49 th . Vol. of the Transactions, and other Books for 
the Library, sent in the Care of Neate and Neave, are come 
to hand in good Order. In my Paper of Experiments in 
the Transactions are the following Errata, viz 

Page 301 line 12 for elastic read electric. 

Page 301 line 18 for but nigh enough read but not nigh 
enough. As they hurt the Sense, I mention them; some 
smaller of less moment I omit. I should be glad to know 
if the very ingenious Mr. Canton has repeated those Ex- 
periments, and what are his Observations. 

I thank Dr. Wright for his Piece on Thunder. 

Mr. Ecles's Experiments do not succeed with me. I wish 
you had sent me Dr. Hoadly's and Mr. Wilson's Experi- 
ments on the Leyden Bottle. I see such a Piece advertis'd 
but it is not come over. 

I am, my dear Friend, 

Yours affectionately 


232. TO PETER COLLINSON ' (P. c.) 

Philad* Dec. 19. 1756 


I have now the Pleasure of yours of the 7 th and io th of 
September, and have received the Old Book of Voyages, 
the Magazines for August and Messrs. Hoadley and Wilson 
on Electricity. 

1 From the private collection of Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan. ED. 


We have hitherto preserved a good Agreement with our 
new Governor; tho' it seems that some Evil Counsellors 
about him would fain get him into a Quarrel with us; but 
I hope it will be prevented. 

Smith continues still in the Academy; but I imagine will 
not much longer, unless he mends his Manners greatly, for 
the Schools decline on his Account. The Number of Schol- 
ars, at present, that pay, not exceeding 118, tho j they formerly 
were 200. The Air Pump, etc. turn'd out agreable to In- 
voice, except, that the stopcock Handle of one of the brass 
Hemispheres was wanting, and the 6 Ibs. of Quicksilver. 
These should be sent per the first Opportunity, together 
with Glasses instead of those which were broken, viz, the 
largest Receiver, the large Globe for weighing Air. The 
slender Barometric Tube ; and the largest of the 3 Cylinders 
for holding Water in the Fountain Experiment. It would 
not be amiss to send 3 or 4 Barometer Tubes, such slender 
Things being very apt to break. 

And if the large Glass Vessels are not pack'd in separate 
Boxes, at least there should be Partitions in the Cases they 
are pack'd in. Since your Workmen are, by your Accounts, 
as dilatory as they are ingenious, I begin to be much con- 
cern 'd for the great Trouble we have given you in these 

I thank you for so readily paying my Drafts in favour of 
Mr. Strahan and the Society for Encouragement of Arts. 
The Society sets out on Noble Principles, and I hope they 
may be highly useful to the Whole British Dominions and 
to Mankind. 

I am exceedingly obliged to Dr. Wright for the Regard he 
expressed for me in his Letter, to you from Brussels, and for 

VOL. Ill 2 A 


his ingenious little Piece on Thunder. Pray return him 
my hearty Thanks. 

Your honorable Friend's Observation on what I wrote con- 
cerning our Militia Law I don't well understand, perhaps 
because you have not sent the whole. If he doubted the 
Truth of what I said of the Numbers learning Military Dis- 
cipline under that Law, I send you enclos'd the printed 
Account or List of the Companies, drawn from Secretary 
Peters's Ace*, of Charge for issuing Commissions to the 
general Officers. The Companies consisted, one with 
another, of at least 100 Men each, and several Companies 
were added to the Militia after that List was printed. If by 
"the ill Things he had lately heard from Pensilvania " he 
meant some Mischief done by the Indians, and therefore 
could not imagine we were in a better Posture of Defence, 
let me acquaint you, that if every Man in the Country was 
a veteran Soldier, our Sparse Manner of settling on so ex- 
tended a Frontier, would still subject us to Mischiefs from 
the Depredations of such an Enemy as the Indians are, who 
do everything by Surprize, and lurk about for Opportunities 
of attacking single Houses, and small weak Neighborhoods. 
But all that Pensilvania has suffer'd is charg'd to the Account 
of our not having a good Militia Law; tho' Virginia that 
has such a Law has suffer'd more, and New York with such 
a Law and all the King's and New England Forces to assist 
her, has not been free from Scalping, besides losing Oswego. 
One might as justly charge to your Want of a good Militia 
Law in England, the Highway Robberies and Housebreak- 
ings which sometimes fill your Newspapers ; and even blame 
your regular Forces for not preventing them. We have 
now near 1500 Men on our Frontier, and yet People are 


sometimes scalp'd between Fort and Fort, and very near the 
Forts themselves. And if these Soldiers who have Arms 
continually in their Hands cannot always secure themselves 
why should the Mischiefs done to the Farmers occasion 
a Doubt of the Truth of what I told you of our People's 
learning military Discipline under our Militia Law. For 
the Militia cannot be always under Arms, the Land must 
be tilPd, and Business follow'd ; Every House and Plantation 
cannot be guarded, and on the Frontiers they are Miles dis- 
tant, and so can afford little Aid to one another ; Those 
Men posted on the Frontier are not the Militia, but what we 
call our Provincial Troops, being regularly inlisted to serve 
for a Term, and in the Pay of the Province ; and do nothing 
but bear Arms like your Regulars. The Militia follow 
their respective Callings at home, muster only on certain 
Days to learn Discipline, and are to be ready in Case of 
Invasion etc. by any great Force, but are of little Use in hunt- 
ing Indians; and therefore all the Colonies, in such Wars 
hire Men for the purpose who are fitter for it, and make it 
their Business. This Distinction between the Provincial 
Troop and the Militia of the Colonies seems not to be under- 
stood in England; for even the Lords of Trade in their 
Report against our Militia Law, appear to have look'd upon 
them as the same, when they object "that as our Militia were 
not oblig'd to march more than three Days out of the Prov- 
ince without their Consent, it might hazard the King's 
Troops that should be joined with them." Whereas if any 
Expedition is undertaken in the Colonies in Cooperation 
with the King's Troops it is not carried on by the Militia 
as such, but by listed Men hired expressly for that Service; 
these are called Provincial Forces, and under as absolute 


Command, 'till that Service is ended as the King's Troops; 
so that the Inconvenience objected to was not real. How- 
ever we are now to have a Militia Law like the other Colonies. 
The Bill is brought into the House, and I suppose will pass. 
We shall, as we ought, do all that can reasonably be ex- 
pected of us, to please as well as serve, our Mother Country. 
I am with Sincerest Respect and Affection, 

Dear Sir, Your most obed*. humble servant 



Philadelphia, December 30, 1756. 


You will receive this by the hand of your son Benjamin, 
on whose safe return from the West Indies I sincerely con- 
gratulate you. 

He has settled accounts with me, and paid the balance 
honourably. He has also cleared the old printing-house 
to himself, and sent it to Boston, where he purposes to set 
up his business, together with bookselling, which, consider- 
ing his industry and frugality, I make no doubt will answer. 
He has good credit and some money in England, and I have 
helped him by lending him a little more; so that he may 
expect a cargo of books, and a quantity of new letter, in the 
spring ; and I shall from time to time furnish him with paper. 
We all join in love to you and yours. I am your loving 


1 From "A Collection of the Familiar Letters of Benjamin Franklin," 
Boston, 1833, p. 47. ED. 


234. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 1 (P. c.) 

Philadelphia, December 31, 1756 

DEAR SIR: This serves only to cover a bill of exchange, 
drawn by B. Mecom on you, upon a supposition that you 
have received bills he sent you from Antigua for about 120 
more than the balance of your account. If those bills are 
not come to hand or not paid, you need not be at the trouble 
of protesting this bill, but let it lie in your hands till you 
hear farther from me. If those bills are paid, then please 
to carry this 100 to my account. B. Mecom has settled 
honourably with me, and bought my old printing-house 
that he had at Antigua. He wants some new letters which 
he now writes for. Lest his bills above mentioned should 
fail, I have given him a draft on my friend Collinson for 50 
sterling, which he now sends to you. He purposes to set up 
in Boston. My respects affectionately to you and yours, 
particularly my son Billy. It gives me great pleasure to 
learn by your last that he has become so capable of business. 
I am, dear sir, your most obedient servant, 


1 From John Bigelow, " The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin " 
(1887), Vol. X, p. 279. ED. 


235. PLAN 


THE great country back of the Appalachian Mountains, 
on both sides of the Ohio, and between that river and the 
Lakes is now well known, both to the English and French, 
to be one of the finest in North America, for the extreme 
richness and fertility of the land; the healthy temperature 
of the air, and mildness of the climate ; the plenty of hunt- 
ing, fishing, and fowling; the facility of trade with the 
Indians; and the vast convenience of inland navigation or 
water-carriage by the Lakes and great rivers, many hundreds 
of leagues around. 

From these natural advantages it must undoubtedly (per- 
haps hi less than another century) become a populous and 

1 Dr. Franklin was early possessed of the belief, that great advantage would 
redound to the English Colonies on the sea-board by settlements beyond the 
Alleganies under governments distinctly organized. Such settlements would 
not only rapidly increase in population, thereby strengthening the power of 
the whole, but would serve as a barrier to the other colonies against the 
Indians and French, who, in time of war, made descents upon the frontiers, 
kept the people in alarm, and caused great expense in raising troops and 
supporting an army to repel their invasions. He pursued this favourite object 
for many years ; and after he went to England a company was formed, under 
his auspices, who petitioned for a grant to settle a colony west of the Allegany 
mountains. Many obstacles were encountered, but the application was at last 
successful. The scheme was prevented from being carried into effect by the 
troubles immediately preceding the revolution. 

The following paper was probably written shortly after the Albany Con- 
vention, in 1754, at the request of Governor Pownall, who had a project for 
settling what he called " barrier colonies." S. 

The date of the writing is not exactly known, but it was presented by 
Governor Pownall as a memorial to the Duke of Cumberland, in 1756. ED. 

1756] PLAN 359 

powerful dominion; and a great accession of power either 
to England or France. 

The French are now making open encroachments on these 
territories, in defiance of our known rights ; and, if we longer 
delay to settle that country, and suffer them to possess it, 
these inconveniences and mischiefs will probably follow: 

1. Our people, being confined to the country between the 
sea and the mountains, cannot much more increase in num- 
ber; people increasing in proportion to their room and 
means of subsistence. 

2. The French will increase much more, by that acquired 
room and plenty of subsistence, and become a great people 
behind us. 

3. Many of our debtors and loose English people, our 
German servants, and slaves, will probably desert to them, 
and increase their numbers and strength, to the lessening 
and weakening of ours. 

4. They will cut us off from all commerce and alliance 
with the western Indians, to the great prejudice of Britain, 
by preventing the sale and consumption of its manufactures. 

5. They will both in time of peace and war (as they have 
always done against New England) set the Indians on to 
harass our frontiers, kill and scalp our people, and drive in 
the advanced settlers; and so, in preventing our obtaining 
more subsistence by cultivating of new lands, they discourage 
our marriages, and keep our people from increasing; thus 
(if the expression may be allowed) killing thousands of our 
children before they are born. 

If two strong colonies of English were settled between the 
Ohio and Lake Erie, in the places hereafter to be mentioned, 
these advantages might be expected; 


1. They would be a great security to the frontiers of our 
other colonies, by preventing the incursions of the French 
and French Indians of Canada, on the back parts of Pennsyl- 
vania, Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas; and the 
frontiers of such new colonies would be much more easily 
defended, than those of the colonies last mentioned now 
can be, as will appear hereafter. 

2. The dreaded junction of the French settlements in 
Canada with those of Louisiana would be prevented. 

3. In case of a war, it would be easy, from those new 
colonies, to annoy Louisiana, by going down the Ohio and 
Mississippi; and the southern part of Canada, by sailing 
over the Lakes, and thereby confine the French within narrow 

4. We could secure the friendship and trade of the Miamis 
or Twigtwees (a numerous people consisting of many tribes, 
inhabiting the country between the west end of Lake Erie, 
and the south end of Lake Huron, and the Ohio), who are 
at present dissatisfied with the French, and fond of the 
English, and would gladly encourage and protect an infant 
English settlement in or near their country, as some of their 
chiefs have declared to the writer of this memoir. Further, 
by means of the Lakes, the Ohio, and the Mississippi, our 
trade might be extended through a vast country, among 
many numerous and distant nations, greatly to the benefit 
of Britain. 

5. The settlement of all the intermediate lands, between 
the present frontiers of our colonies on one side, and the 
Lakes and Mississippi on the other, would be facilitated 
and speedily executed, to the great increase of Englishmen, 
English trade, and English power. 

1756] PLAN 361 

The grants to most of the colonies are of long, narrow 
slips of land, extending west from the Atlantic to the South 
Sea. They are much too long for their breadth; the ex- 
tremes at too great a distance; and therefore unfit to be 
continued under their present dimensions. 

Several of the old colonies may conveniently be limited 
westward by the Allegany or Appalachian mountains, and 
new colonies formed west of those mountains. 

A single old colony does not seem strong enough to extend 
itself otherwise than inch by inch. It cannot venture a set- 
tlement far distant from the main body, being unable to 
support it ; but if the colonies were united under one gov- 
ernor-general and grand council, agreeably to the Albany 
plan, they might easily, by their joint force, establish one 
or more new colonies, whenever they should judge it 
necessary or advantageous to the interest of the whole. 

But if such union should not take place, it is proposed 
that two charters be granted, each for some considerable 
part of the lands west of Pennsylvania and the Virginian 
mountains, to a number of the nobility and gentry of Britain ; 
with such Americans as shall join them in contributing to 
the settlement of those lands, either by paying a proportion 
of the expense of making such settlements, or by actually 
going thither in person, and settling themselves and families. 

That by such charters it be granted, that every actual 

settler be entitled to a tract of acres for himself, and 

acres for every poll in the family he carries with him ; 

and that every contributor of guineas be entitled to a 

quantity of acres, equal to the share of a single settler, for 
every such sum of guineas contributed and paid to the 
colony treasurer; a contributor for shares to have an 


additional share gratis; that settlers may likewise be con- 
tributors, and have right of land in both capacities. 

That as many and as great privileges and powers of gov- 
ernment be granted to the contributors and settlers, as his 
Majesty in his wisdom shall think most fit for their benefit 
and encouragement, consistent with the general good of the 
British empire; for extraordinary privileges and liberties, 
with lands on easy terms, are strong inducements to people 
to hazard their persons and fortunes in settling new countries. 
And such powers of government as (though suitable to their 
circumstances, and fit to be trusted with an infant colony,) 
might be judged unfit, when it becomes populous and power- 
ful, these might be granted for a term only ; as the choice of 
their own governor for ninety-nine years; the support of 
government in the colonies of Connecticut and Rhode 
Island (which now enjoy that and other like privileges) 
being much less expensive, than in the colonies under the 
immediate government of the crown, and the constitution 
more inviting. 

That the first contributors to the amount of guineas 

be empowered to choose a treasurer to receive the contribu- 

That no contributions be paid till the sum of thou- 
sand guineas be subscribed. 

That the money thus raised be applied to the purchase 
of the lands from the Six Nations and other Indians, and of 
provisions, stores, arms, ammunition, carriages, &c., for 
the settlers, who, after having entered their names with the 
treasurer, or person by him appointed to receive and enter 
them, are, upon public notice given for that purpose, to ren- 
dezvous at a place to be appointed, and march in a body to 

1756] PLAN 363 

the place destined for their settlement, under the charge of 
the government to be established over them. Such ren- 
dezvous and march, however, not to be directed, till the num- 
ber of names of settlers entered, capable of bearing arms, 
amount at least to thousand. 

It is apprehended, that a great sum of money might be 
raised in America on such a scheme as this; for there are 
many who would be glad of any opportunity, by advancing 
a small sum at present, to secure land for their children, 
which might in a few years become very valuable; and a 
great number it is thought of actual settlers might likewise 
be engaged (some from each of our present colonies), suffi- 
cient to carry it into full execution by their strength and 
numbers; provided only, that the crown would be at the 
expense of removing the little forts the French have erected 
in their encroachments on his Majesty's territories, and sup- 
porting a strong one near the Falls of Niagara, with a few 
small armed vessels, or half-galleys to cruise on the Lakes. 

For the security of this colony in its infancy, a small fort 
might be erected and for some time maintained at Buffalo 
Creek on the Ohio, above the settlement ; and another at the 
mouth of the Tioga, on the south side of Lake Erie, where a 
port should be formed, and a town erected, for the trade of 
the Lakes. The colonists for this settlement might march 
by land through Pennsylvania. 

The river Scioto, which runs into the Ohio about two 
hundred miles below Logstown, is supposed the fittest seat 
for the other colony; there being for forty miles on each side 
of it, and quite up to its heads, a body of all rich land ; the 
finest spot of its bigness in all North America, and has the 
particular advantage of sea- coal in plenty (even above 


ground in two places) for fuel, when the woods shall be 
destroyed. This colony would have the trade of the Miamis 
or Twigtwees; and should, at first, have a small fort near 
Hochockin, at the head of the river; and another near the 
mouth of Wabash. Sandusky, a French fort near the Lake 
Erie, should also be taken; and all the little French forts 
south and west of the Lakes, quite to the Mississippi, be 
removed, or taken and garrisoned by the English. The 
colonists for this settlement might assemble near the heads 
of the rivers in Virginia, and march over land to the navi- 
gable branches of the Kenhawa, where they might embark 
with all their baggage and provisions, and fall into the Ohio, 
not far above the mouth of the Scioto. Or they might ren- 
dezvous at Will's Creek, and go down the Monongahela to 
the Ohio. 

The fort and armed vessels at the strait of Niagara would 
be a vast security to the frontiers of these new colonies 
against any attempts of the French from Canada. The 
fort at the mouth of the Wabash would guard that river, 
the Ohio, and the Cutava River, in case of any attempt 
from the French of the Mississippi. Every fort should have 
a small settlement round it, as the fort would protect the 
settlers, and the settlers defend the fort and supply it with 

The difficulty of settling the first English colonies in 
America, at so great a distance from England, must have been 
vastly greater, than the settling these proposed new colonies ; 
for it would be the interest and advantage of all the present 
colonies to support these new ones; as they would cover 
their frontiers, and prevent the growth of the French power 
behind or near their present settlements; and the new 

1756] PLAN 365 

country is nearly at equal distance from all the old colonies, 
and could easily be assisted from all of them. 

And as there are already in all the old colonies many 
thousands of families that are ready to swarm, wanting 
more land, the richness and natural advantage of the Ohio 
country would draw most of them thither, were there but a 
tolerable prospect of a safe settlement. So that the new 
colonies would soon be full of people ; and, from the advan- 
tage of their situation, become much more terrible to the 
French settlements, than those are now to us. The gain- 
ing of the back Indian trade from the French, by the naviga- 
tion of the Lakes, &c., would of itself greatly weaken our 
enemies, it being now their principal support. It seems 
highly probable, that in time they must be subjected to the 
British crown, or driven out of the country. 

Such settlements may better be made now, than fifty 
years hence; because it is easier to settle ourselves, and 
thereby prevent the French settling there, as they seem now 
to intend, than to remove them when strongly settled. 

If these settlements are postponed, then more forts and 
stronger, and more numerous and expensive garrisons must 
be established, to secure the country, prevent their settling, 
and secure our present frontiers; the charge of which may 
probably exceed the charge of the proposed settlements, and 
the advantage nothing near so great. 

The fort at Oswego should likewise be strengthened, and 
some armed half-galleys, or other small vessels, kept there 
to cruise on Lake Ontario, as proposed by Mr. Pownall in 
his paper laid before the commissioners at the Albany treaty. 

If a fort was also built at Tirondequat on Lake Ontario, 
and a settlement made there near the lake side, where the 


lands are said to be good, much better than at Oswego; the 
people of such settlements would help to defend both forts 
on any emergency. 

236. TO PETER COLLINSON 1 (p. c.) 

Philad* Jan. 31. 1757 


The preceding are Copies of my late Letters: to which 
I have little to add, except the request you would send the 
Magazines mentioned in the enclos'd List, which it seems 
are still wanting to compleat the Sets in the Library. It 
may be well enough to forbear sending the Universal Maga- 
zine for the future: it contains little of Value. I inclose 
also an Almanack and some Sheets to compleat your Set 
of Votes for the last Year. 

The rest are in Mr. Bartram's Box. Our Assembly has 
unanimously voted sending me to England, to endeavour 
a Settlement of our Disputes; I have not determin'd yet to 
go, as they gave me some Days to consider of it. 

It will be a good Work, whoever does it ; for the Province 
at present is very unhappy. 

I am, Dear Sir, 

Your affectionate humble Servant 

237. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN (p. c.) 

January 31, 1757. 

DEAR SIR : The above is a copy of my last. I have 
now before me your favour of September nth. I shall not 

1 From the private collection of Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan. ED. 


fail on every occasion to recommend you to my friends on 
the book account. I wish I could give you any hopes of 
soon receiving your debt of J. Read. Mr. Hall, no doubt, 
writes you more fully concerning him. It gives me great 
pleasure to hear so good an account of our son Billy. In 
return, let me tell you that our daughter Sally is indeed a 
very good girl, affectionate, dutiful, and industrious, has 
one of the best hearts, and though not a wit, is, for one of 
her years, by no means deficient in understanding. She 
already takes off part of her mother's family cares. This 
must give you and Mrs. Strahan pleasure. So that account 
is partly balanced. 

Our Assembly talk of sending me to England speedily. 
Then look out sharp, and if a fat old fellow should come 
to your printing-house and request a little smouting, depend 
upon it 't is your affectionate friend and humble servant, 


P. S. I enclose B. Mecom's first bill for 100 sterling, 
the 2d and 3d sent before. 

238. TO ROBERT CHARLES 1 (A. p. s.) 

[Philadelphia,] Feb. i. 1757. 

I received your several Favours of Aug 1 14. Sept. 18. Sept. 
22. and Oct. 16. By this Ship you will receive a Box con- 
taining Sundry Copies of our last Years' Votes, to which are 
added, as you advised, the Accounts of the Expenditure of 
the 55,000 , and the subsequent 30,000 . Also the Papers 

1 For many years agent in England for the Assembly of Pennsylvania. ED. 


relating to the Employing foreign Officers. There is also 
in the Box an authenticated Copy of our late Bill for grant- 
ing 100,000 to the King's Use, and of the Vote appoint- 
ing yourself and Mr. Patridge Agents, under the great Seal, 
with all the late Messages etc. You will see in the Votes a 
Copy of the Proprietary Instructions, in which a Money Bill 
is made for us by the Proprietary, sitting in his Closet at 
1,000 Leagues' distance. 

The Governor laid before us an Estimate of the necessary 
Expence for defending this Province one Year, amounting 
to ;i 25,000. We knew our Inability to bear the raising of 
so great a Sum in so short a time : We deducted the least 
necessary Articles, and reduced it to 100,000 which we 
granted, and sent up the Bill. Not that we thought this 
Province capable of Paying such a Tax Yearly, or any thing 
near it, but believing it necessary to exert ourselves at this 
Time in an extraordinary Manner, to save the Country from 
total Ruin by the Enemy. The Governor, (to use his own 
polite Word,) REJECTS it. Your English Kings I think 
are complaisant enough in such Cases to say, they will ad- 
vise upon it. We have no Remedy here, but must obey the 
Instruction, by which we are so confin'd, as to the Time of 
[rating] the Property to be tax'd, the Valuation of that Prop- 
erty, and the Sum per Pound to be tax'd on the Valuation, 
that it is demonstrably impossible by such a Law to raise 
one Quarter of the Money absolutely necessary to defend us. 
So j of our Troops must be disbanded, and the Country be 
exposed to the Mercy of our Enemies, rather than the least 
tittle of a Proprietary Instruction should be deviated from ! 

I forbear to enlarge, because the House have unanimously 
desired your Friend Mr. Norris and myself, to go home im- 

1757] TO MRS. JANE MECOM 369 

mediately to assist their Agents in getting these Matters 
settled. He has not yet determined; but if he goes, you 
will by him be fully informed of every thing, and my going 
will not, in my Opinion, be necessary: If he declines it, I 
may possibly soon have the Pleasure of seeing you. I am 
with great Respect, Sir, &c. 



Philadelphia, February 21, 1757. 


I am glad to hear your son has got well home. I like your 
conclusion not to take a house for him till summer, and, if 
he stays till his new letters arrive, perhaps it would not be 
amiss; for a good deal depends on the first appearance a 
man makes. As he will keep a bookseller's shop, with his 
printing-house, I don't know but it might be worth his while 
to set up at Cambridge. 

I enclose you some whisk seed ; it is a kind of corn, good 
for creatures; it must be planted in hills, like Indian corn. 
The tops make the best thatch in the world; and of the 
same are made the whisks you use for velvet. Pray try if 
it will grow with you. I brought it from Virginia. Give 
some to Mr. Cooper, some to Mr. Bowdoin. Love to 
cousin Sally, and her spouse. I wish them and you much 
joy. Love to brother, &c. 


1 From " A Collection of the Familiar Letters of Benjamin Franklin," 
Boston, 1833, p. 48. ED. 

VOL. Ill 2B 


240. REPORT 


Dated February 22, 1757 

IN obedience to the order of the House, we have drawn up 
the heads of the most important aggrievances that occur to 
us, which the people of this province with great difficulty 
labour under; the many infractions of the constitution, (in 
manifest violation of the royal grant, the proprietary char- 
ters, the laws of this province, and of the laws, usages, and 
customs of our mother country,) and other matters, which 
we apprehend call aloud for redress. 

They are as follow: 

First. By the royal charter, (which has ever been, ought 
to be, and truly is, the principal and invariable fundamen- 
tal of this constitution,) King Charles the Second did give 
and grant unto William Penn, his heirs and assigns, the 
province of Pennsylvania; and also to him and his heirs, 
and his or their deputies or lieutenants, free, full, and abso- 
lute power for the good and happy government thereof, to 
make and enact any laws, " according to their best discre- 
tion, by and with the advice, assent, and approbation of the 
freemen of the said country, or of their delegates or deputies ; " 
for the raising of money, or any other end appertaining to 
the public state, peace, or safety of the said country. By 
the words of this grant, it is evident that full powers were 

1 From " Votes and Proceedings of the House of Representatives of the 
Province of Pennsylvania," Vol. IV, p. 697. ED. 


granted to the deputies and lieutenants of William Penn and 
his heirs, to concur with the people in framing laws for their 
protection and the safety of the province, according to their 
"best discretion," independent of any instructions or direc- 
tions they should receive from their principals. And it is 
equally obvious to your committee, that the people of this 
province and their representatives were interested in this 
royal grant, and, by virtue thereof have an original right of 
legislation inherent in them, which neither the proprietors 
nor any other person whatsoever, can divest them of, restrain, 
or abridge, without manifestly violating and destroying the 
letter, spirit, and design of this grant. 

Nevertheless we unfortunately find, that the proprietaries 
of this province, regardless of this sacred fundamental of all 
our rights and liberties, have so abridged and restricted their 
late and present governor's discretion in matters of legisla- 
tion, by their illegal, impracticable, and unconstitutional 
instructions and prohibitions, that no bill for granting aids 
and supplies to our most gracious Sovereign, (be it ever so 
reasonable, expedient, and necessary for the defence of this 
his Majesty's colony, and safety of his people,) unless it be 
agreeable thereto, can meet with his approbation ; by means 
whereof the many considerable sums of money, which have 
been offered for those purposes by the Assemblies of this 
province (ever anxious to maintain his honour and rights), 
have been rejected; to the great encouragement of his 
Majesty's enemies, and the imminent danger of the loss of 
this his colony. 

Secondly. The representatives of the people in General 
Assembly met, by virtue of the said royal grant, and the char- 
ter of privileges granted by the said William Penn, and a 


law of this province, have right to, and ought to enjoy, all 
the powers and privileges of an Assembly, according to the 
rights of the free-born subjects of England, and as is usual in 
any of the plantations in America. It is an indubitable and 
now an incontested right of the Commons of England to 
grant aids and supplies to his Majesty in any manner they 
think most easy to themselves and the people ; and they are 
the sole judges of the measure, manner and time of grant- 
ing and raising the same. 

Nevertheless the proprietaries of this province, in contempt 
of the said royal grant, proprietary charter, and law of this 
colony; designing to subvert the fundamentals of this con- 
stitution, to deprive the Assembly and people of their rights 
and privileges, and to assume an arbitrary and tyrannical 
power over the liberties and properties of his Majesty's liege 
subjects ; have so restrained their governors by their despotic 
instructions, (which are not to be varied from, and are par- 
ticularly directory in the framing and passing of money bills 
and supplies to his Majesty, as to the mode, measure, and 
time,) that it is impossible for the Assembly, should they lose 
all sense of their most essential rights, and comply with those 
instructions, to grant sufficient aids for the defence of this 
his Majesty's province from the common enemy. 

Thirdly. In pursuance of sundry acts of General Assem- 
bly, approved of by the crown, a natural right, inherent 
in every man, antecedent to all laws, the Assemblies of this 
province have had the power of disposing of the public mon- 
ies that have been raised for the encouragement of trade 
and support of government, by the interest money arising by 
the loan of the bills of credit and the excise. No part of monies was ever paid by the proprietaries, or ever 


raised on their estates ; and therefore, they can have no pre- 
tence of right to a voice in the disposition of them. They 
have ever been applied with prudent frugality for the honour 
and advantage of the public and the King's immediate ser- 
vice, to the general approbation of the people; the credit 
of the government has been preserved, and the debts of the 
public punctually discharged. In short, no inconveniencies, 
but great, and many, advantages have accrued from the As- 
sembly's prudent care and management of these funds. 

Yet the proprietaries, resolved to deprive the Assemblies 
of the power and means of supporting an agent in England, 
and of prosecuting their complaints, and remonstrating their 
aggrievances, when injured or oppressed, to his Majesty 
and his Parliament, and to rob them of this natural right 
(which has been so often approved of by their gracious 
Sovereign), have, by their said instructions, prohibited their 
governor from giving his assent to any laws emitting or 
reemitting any paper currency or bills of credit, or for rais- 
ing money by excise or any other method ; unless the gov- 
ernor or commander-in-chief for the time being, by clauses 
to be inserted therein, have a negative in the disposition of 
the monies arising thereby, let the languishing circumstances 
of our trade be ever so great, and a further or greater me- 
dium become ever so necessary for its support. 

Fourthly. By the laws and statutes of England, the chief 
rents, honours, and castles of the crown are taxed, and pay 
their proportion to the supplies that are granted to the King 
for the defence of the realm, and support of government. 
His Majesty, the nobility of the realm, and all the British 
subjects do now actually contribute their proportion towards 
the defence of America in general, and this province in par- 


ticular; and it is in a more especial manner the duty of the 
proprietaries to pay their proportion of a tax for the immedi- 
ate preservation of their own estates in this province. To 
exempt, therefore, any part of their estates from their rea- 
sonable part of this necessary burthen, is as unjust as it is 
illegal, and as new as arbitrary. 

Yet the proprietaries, notwithstanding the general danger 
to which the nation and its colonies are exposed, and great 
distress of this province in particular, by their said instruc- 
tions have prohibited their governors from passing laws for 
the raising supplies for its defence, unless all their located, 
unimproved, and unoccupied lands, quit-rents, fines, and 
purchase monies on interest, (the much greater part of their 
enormous estates in this colony,) are expressly exempted 
from paying any part of the tax. 

Fijtltiy. By virtue of the said royal charter, the proprie- 
taries are invested with a power of "doing every thing which 
unto a complete establishment of justice, unto courts and 
tribunals, forms of judicature, and manner of proceedings 
do belong. " It was certainly the import and design of this 
grant, that the courts of judicature should be formed, and 
the judges and officers thereof hold their commissions, in a 
manner not repugnant, but agreeable, to the laws and cus- 
toms of England ; that thereby they might remain free from 
the influence of persons in power, the rights of the people 
might be preserved, and their properties effectually secured. 
That the grantee, William Penn, (understanding the said 
grant in this light) did, by his original frame of government, 
covenant and grant with the people, that the judges and 
other officers should hold their commissions during their 
goad behaviour, and no longer. 


Notwithstanding which, the governors of this province 
have, for many years past, granted all the commissions to 
the judges of the King's Bench, or supreme court of this prov- 
ince, and to the judges of the court of Common Pleas of the 
several counties, to be held during their will and pleasure. 
By means whereof, the said judges being subject to the influ- 
ence and directions of the proprietaries and their governors, 
their favourites and creatures, the laws may not be duly ad- 
ministered or executed, but often wrested from their true 
sense, to serve particular purposes ; the foundation of justice 
may be liable to be destroyed; and the lives, laws, liberties, 
privileges, and properties of the people thereby rendered 
precarious and altogether insecure, to the great disgrace of 
our laws, and the inconceivable injury of his Majesty's sub- 

Your committee further beg leave to add, that besides 
these aggrievances, there are other hardships the people of 
this province have experienced, that call for redress. The 
inlistment oj servants, without the least satisfaction being made 
to the masters, has not only prevented the cultivation of our 
lands, and diminished the trade and commerce of the prov- 
ince, but is a burden extremely unequal and oppressive to 
individuals; and should the practice continue, the conse- 
quence must prove very discouraging to the further settle- 
ment of this colony, and prejudicial to his Majesty's future 
service. Justice therefore demands that satisfaction should 
be made to the masters of such inlisted servants, and that 
the right of masters to their servants be confirmed and set- 
tled. But as those servants have been inlisted into his Maj- 
esty's service for the general defence of America, and not of 
this province only, but all the colonies, and the nation in gen- 


eral, have and will receive, equal benefit from their service, 
this satisfaction should be made at the expense of the nation, 
and not of this province only. 

That the people now labour under a burden o) taxes al- 
most insupportable by so young a colony, for the defence of 
its long-extended frontier, of about two hundred miles from 
New Jersey to Maryland; without either of those colonies, 
or the three lower counties, on Delaware, contributing their 
proportion thereto; though their frontiers are in a great 
measure covered and protected by our forts. And, should 
the war continue, and with it this unequal burden, many of 
his Majesty's subjects in this province will be reduced to 
want, and the province, if not lost to the enemy, involved 
in debt and sunk under its load. 

That notwithstanding this weight of taxes, the Assem- 
blies of this province have given to the general service of the 
nation five thousand pounds to purchase provisions for the 
troops under General Braddock; 2,985. os. nd. for clear- 
ing a road by his orders; 10,514. los. id. to General Shir- 
ley, for the purchasing provisions for the New England 
forces ; and expended the sum of 2,385 os. 2\d. in support- 
ing the inhabitants of Nova Scotia; which likewise we con- 
ceive ought to be a national expense. 

And that his Majesty's subjects, the merchants and in- 
surers in England, as well as the merchants here and else- 
where, did during the last, and will during the present war, 
be greatly injured in their property, trade, and commerce, 
by the enemy's privateers on this coast, and at our capes, 
unless some method be fallen on to prevent it. 

Wherefore your committee are of opinion, that the commis- 
sioners, intended to be sent to England to solicit a Removal 


and redress of the many infractions and violations of the 
constitution, should also have it in charge, and be instructed, 
to represent to our most gracious Sovereign and his Parlia- 
ments the several unequal burdens and hardships before 
mentioned; and endeavour to procure satisfaction to the 
masters of such servants as have been enlisted, and the right 
of masters to their servants established and confirmed, and 
obtain a repayment of the said several sums of money, some 
assistance towards defending our extensive frontier, and a 
vessel of war to protect the trade and commerce of this prov- 

Submitted to the correction of the House. 


Phila a , Feb. 22, 1757. 

I thank you for the Intelligence from Fort Allen, relating 
to the Indians. The Commissioners have not yet settled 
your Account, but I will press them to do it immediately. 
I have not heard from Mr. Stephenson, but will write to 
him once more. 

And now, my dear old Friend, I am to take Leave of you, 
being ordered home to England by the Assembly, to obtain 
some final Settlement of the Points, that have occasioned 
so many unhappy Disputes. I assure you I go with the sin- 
cerest Desire of procuring Peace, and therein I know I shall 
have your Prayers for my Success. God bless you, and 
grant that at my Return I may find you well and happy. I 
am, as ever, D r Friend, yours affectionately, 




Philadelphia, March 3, 1757. 


Being about to leave America for some time, I could not 
go without taking leave of my dear friend. I received your 
favour of the 8th of November, and am ashamed, that I have 
suffered it to remain so long unanswered, especially as now, 
through shortness of time, I cannot chat with you in any man- 
ner agreeably. 

I can only wish you well and happy, which I do most cor- 
dially. Present my best compliments to your good mamma, 
brother and sister Ward, and all your other sisters, the agree- 
able Misses Ward, Dr. Babcock and family, the charitable 
Misses Stanton, and, in short, to all that love me. I should 
have said all that love you, but that would be giving you too 
much trouble. Adieu, dear good girl, and believe me ever 

your affectionate friend, 



Trenton, April 5. 1757 


We found the Roads much better than we expected, and 
got here well before Night. My kind Friend Mr. Griffith's 
Carriage appearing too weak in the Wheels, I have accepted 
Mr. Masters's obliging Offer, and take his Carriage forward 
from this Place, and he will return to Town in Mr. Griffith's. 

1 From " A Collection of the Familiar Letters of Benjamin Franklin," 
Boston, 1833, p. 49. ED. 


About a Dozen of our Friends accompanied us quite hither, 
to see us out of the Province, and we spent a very agreable 
Evening together. I leave Home, and undertake this long 
Voyage more chearfully, as I can rely on your Prudence 
in the Management of my Affairs, and Education of my 
dear Child; and yet I cannot forbear once more recom- 
mending her to you with a Father's tenderest Concern. 
My Love to all. If the Roads do not prove worse, we may 
be at Woodbridge to-night. I believe I did not see Mr. 
Dunlap when I came away, so as to take leave of him; 
my Love to him. Billy presents his Duty and Love to all. 
I am your affec e Husband, B. FRANKLIN. 

244. TO SAMUEL HAZARD 1 (A. p. s.) 

Philad* April II th 1757 

Your Absence when the Business was to be done for Mf 
Greeme, prevented your seeing Mess? Stevenson's Letter 
at that Time, or the Account that was afterwards carried 
to your House by my Son. I had however some Expec- 
tations that you would do what" was desired of you by those 
Gentlemen, your Friends, and I readily did what seem'd 
immediately necessary to serve Mf Greeme, on Sight of 
their Letters to you, tho' I had no Knowledge either of him 
or them ; and never have wrote a Line to him on the Affair. 
But your refusal of that as well as of Kneelands Orders, is 
sufficient, as you never assumed, to be sure you are not 
oblig'd to pay. 

1 Samuel Hazard (1714-1758), a merchant of Philadelphia, and one of the 
original Trustees of Princeton. ED. 


The Case seems to be different with respect to the Prizes, 
which you now speak of as out of date: In July 1755 when 
you promised to Account with me for them if I would furnish 
Mf Hesselus with Academy Tickets, they were as much 
out of Date, as they are now: On that Promise, I im- 
mediately furnished those Tickets, and have ever since kept 
your Note and those Prizes together, to be ready for a Settle- 
ment, whenever you should call on me for that Purpose : 
As to the Billet you mention to be "sent by me (after yours) 
signifying my Intentions to return the Tickets to Virginia, 
in consequence of which you settled with the Trustees of 
the College &c. I think it must be an absolute Mistake, 
and that I never sent you any such Billet : For why should 
I return the Tickets to Virginia, when they had (on your 
promise to allow the Prizes) been received by me as pay for 
the Academy Tickets I furnished to M* Hessilus ; and 
therefore ought to be produced by me at our Settlement, 
in which you said you would Account with me for them, 
i.e. in our Settlement for the Tickets I had of you: In 
short, I always expected that whatever Prizes were in the 
Tickets bought of you, would be allowed, when the Money 
for the Tickets was demanded ; and it seems to me, that my 
delaying to make my Demand of the Prize Money till you 
should make your Demand of the Ticket Money ought not 
to deprive me of my Right, any more than your Delaying 
till this Time to make your Demand ought to deprive you 
of yours : and indeed, as the Prize Money did not amount 
to more than I owed for the Tickets, it did not seem necessary 
that I should demand Payment of my Prizes, they being 
already paid by Money in my Hands. 

If I did not pay for the two Tickets you mention to have 


sold me besides the 6 they must now be paid for ; I submit 
that to your Books: 

I thank you for your good Wishes, and am glad to hear 
your Affairs are near being compleated, being 


Your very hble Ser 


245. TO DR. ALEXANDER GARDEN 1 (A. P. s.) 

DR GARDEN New York, April 14 1757 


I am here waiting the Departure of the Pacquet in which 
I am about to embark for London, and by that means have 
Leisure to write a little to my Friends, which the distracted 
State of our Province, and the Hurry of Affairs I have been 
engaged in, for some time prevented. I wish now that I 
had brought some of your ingenious Letters with me, that I 
might have considered them fully: particularly what relates 
to the Element of Fire, and the Quantity received by the 
Earth from the Sun, &c. I have touch'd a little on the 
Subject of Fire, in mine of this Date to Dr Lining, to which 
I beg leave to refer you. But Fire is full of Wonders, & as 
yet we know little of its Nature. 

I forwarded your Pacquet & Letter to Mr Clayton as 
desired, & free of Charge to him. I purpose, God willing, 
to return from England by way of Carolina, when I promise 
myself the Pleasure of seeing & conversing with my Friends 
in Charlestown. 

1 Dr. Garden (1730?-! 791) practised medicine in Charleston, S.C. He 
was eminent as a botanist and zoologist. Linnaeus named the Gardenia after 
him. ED. 


Col. Bouquet, who does me the favour to deliver this to 
you, is a Gentleman whose Conversation you must be pleas'd 
with; and I am sure a Stranger, of Learning, Ingenuity 
& Politeness will not fail of your Civilities. I therefore only 
take the Liberty of Introducing him to you, and leave the 
rest to yourself. 
I am, with great Esteem & Respect, Sir 

Your most obed* hum* Serv* 



COL BOUQUET New York April 14 1757 

Dr Sir 

I thank you for the Letter you have favour'd me with to 
Professor Koenig. I shall take care to deliver the other 
to Mons r . Guinand, if I reach London. 

I regret much that thro* your Business & mine I could 
enjoy so little of your Conversation at Philad* How happy 
are the Folks in Heaven, who, tis said, have nothing to do, 
but to talk with one another, except now and then a little 
Singing, & Drinking of Aqua Vitae. 

We are going different Ways, & perhaps may never meet, 
till we meet there. I pity you for the hot Summer you must 
first undergo in Charlestown. I do all I can for your 
Relief, by Recommending you to an ingenious Physician of 
my Acquaintance, who knows the Rule of making cool, 
weak, refreshing Punch, not inferior to the Nectar of the 

Just now I presume to make a Prayer to them, That 
whatever I wish for my Friends, shall come to pass. If this 

1757] TO JOHN LINING 383 

Prayer be granted, you may be sure of a pleasant Voyage, 
an agreable Campaign, Health, Honour and Happiness. 
But why should I think such Praying & Wishing Necessary. 
The Gods will doubtless take Care of those they love. A 
Dieux then, Dear Sir, & believe me with Sincere Esteem, 
Respect & Affection, 

Your most obed* & most humble Servt 



(A. P. s.) and (P. c.) 

New York, April 14, 1757. 


It is a long time since I had the pleasure of a line from 
you; and, indeed, the troubles of our country, with the 
hurry of business I have been engaged in on that account, 
have made me so bad a correspondent, that I ought not to 
expect punctuality in others. 

But, being about to embark for England, I could not 
quit the continent without paying my respects to you, and, 
at the same time, taking leave to introduce to your acquaint- 
ance a gentleman of learning and merit, Colonel Henry 
Bouquet, who does me the favour to present you this letter, 
and with whom I am sure you will be much pleased. 

Professor Simson, of Glasgow, lately communicated to me 
some curious experiments of a physician of his acquaint- 
ance, by which it appeared that an extraordinary degree of 

1 Fragmentary rough draft in A. P. S., and a copy in the possession of 
T. Hewson Bradford, M.D. ED. 


cold, even to freezing, might be produced by evaporation. 
I have not had leisure to repeat and examine more than the 
first and easiest of them, viz. Wet the ball of a thermometer 
by a feather dipped in spirit of wine, which has been kept 
in the same room, and has, of course, the same degree of 
heat or cold. The mercury sinks presently three or four 
degrees, and the quicker, if, during the evaporation, you 
blow on the ball with bellows ; a second wetting and blowing, 
when the mercury is down, carries it yet lower. I think I 
did not get it lower than five or six degrees from where it 
naturally stood, which was, at that time, sixty. But it is 
said, that a vessel of water being placed in another somewhat 
larger, containing spirit, in such a manner that the vessel 
of water is surrounded with the spirit, and both placed under 
the receiver of an air-pump ; on exhausting the air, the spirit, 
evaporating, leaves such a degree of cold as to freeze the 
water, though the thermometer, in the open air, stands 
many degrees above the freezing point. 

I know not how this phenomenon is to be accounted for; 
but it gives me occasion to mention some loose notions 
relating to heat and cold, which I have for some time 
entertained, but not yet reduced into any form. Allowing 
common fire, as well as electrical, to be a fluid capable 
of permeating other bodies, and seeking an equilibrium, I 
imagine some bodies are better fitted by nature to be con- 
ductors of that fluid than others ; and that, generally, those 
which are the best conductors of the electrical fluid, are also 
the best conductors of this ; and e contra. 

Thus a body which is a good conductor of fire readily re- 
ceives it into its substance, and conducts it through the whole 
to all the parts, as metals and water do ; and if two bodies, 

1757] TO JOHN LINING 385 

both good conductors, one heated, the other in its common 
state, are brought into contact with each other, the body 
which has most fire readily communicates of it to that which 
had least, and that which had least readily receives it, till 
an equilibrium is produced. Thus, if you take a dollar be- 
tween your fingers with one hand, and a piece of wood, of 
the same dimensions, with the other, and bring both at the 
same time to the flame of a candle, you will find yourself 
obliged to drop the dollar before you drop the wood, because 
it conducts the heat of the candle sooner to your flesh. Thus, 
if a silver tea-pot had a handle of the same metal, it would 
conduct the heat from the water to the hand, and become too 
hot to be used ; we therefore give to a metal tea-pot a handle 
of wood, which is not so good a conductor as metal. But 
a china or stone tea-pot being in some degree of the nature 
of glass, which is not a good conductor of heat, may have 
a handle of the same stuff. Thus, also, a damp moist air 
shall make a man more sensible of cold, or chill him more, 
than a dry air that is colder, because a moist air is fitter to 
receive and conduct away the heat of his body. This fluid, 
entering bodies in great quantity first expands them by 
separating their parts a little, afterwards, by farther separat- 
ing their parts, it renders solids fluid, and at length dissipates 
their parts in air. Take this fluid from melted lead, or from 
water, the parts cohere again ; (the first grows solid, the latter 
becomes ice ;) and this is sooner done by the means of good 
conductors. Thus, if you take, as I have done, a square 
bar of lead, four inches long, and one inch thick, together 
with three pieces of wood planed to the same dimensions, 
and lay them, as in the margin, on a smooth board, fixed 
so as not to be easily separated or moved, and pour into 

VOL. Ill 2 C 


the cavity they form, as much melted lead as will fill 
it, you will see the melted lead chill, and become firm, on 
the side next the leaden bar, some time 
before it chills on the other three sides 
in contact with the wooden bars, though, 
before the lead was poured in, they 
might all be supposed to have the same 
degree of heat or coldness, as they had 
been exposed in the same room to the 
same air. You will likewise observe, that the leaden bar, 
as it has cooled the melted lead more than the wooden bars 
have done, so it is itself more heated by the melted lead. 
There is a certain quantity of this fluid, called fire, in every 
living human body, which fluid, being in due proportion, 
keeps the parts of the flesh and blood at such a just distance 
from each other, as that the flesh and nerves are supple, 
and the blood fit for circulation. If part of this due pro- 
portion of fire be conducted away, by means of a contact 
with other bodies, as air, water, or metals, the parts of our 
skin and flesh that come into such contact first draw more 
near together than is agreeable, and give that sensation 
which we call cold ; and if too much be conveyed away, the 
body stiffens, the blood ceases to flow, and death ensues. 
On the other hand, if too much of this fluid be communicated 
to the flesh, the parts are separated too far, and pain en- 
sues, as when they are separated by a pin or lancet. The 
sensation, that the separation by fire occasions, we call 
heat, or burning. My desk on which I now write, and the 
lock of my desk, are both exposed to the same temperature 
of the air, and have therefore the same degree of heat or cold ; 
yet if I lay my hand successively on the wood and on the metal, 

1757] TO JOHN LINING 37 

the latter feels much the coldest, not that it is really so, but, 
being a better conductor, it more readily than the wood 
takes away and draws into itself the fire that was in my skin. 
Accordingly if I lay one hand, part on the lock, and part on 
the wood, and, after it has lain so some time, I feel both 
Parts with my other Hand, I find that Part that has been 
in Contact with the Lock, very sensibly colder to the Touch, 
than the Part that lay on the Wood. How a living Animal 
obtains its Quantity of this Fluid, called Fire, is a curious 
Question. I have shewn, that some Bodies (as Metals) 
have a Power of attracting it stronger than others; and I 
have sometimes suspected, that a living Body had some 
Power of attracting out of the Air, or other Bodies, the Heat 
it wanted. Thus Metals hammered, or repeatedly bent 
grow hot in the bent or hammer'd part. But when I consider 
that Air, in Contact with the Body, cools it; that the sur- 
rounding Air is rather heated by its Contact with the Body ; 
that every breath of cooler Air, drawn in, carries off Part 
of the Body's Heat when it passes out again; that there- 
fore there must be some Fund in the Body for producing it, 
or otherwise the Animal would soon grow cold ; I have been 
rather inclined to think, that the Fluid Fire, as well as the 
Fluid Air, is attracted by Plants in their Growth, and becomes 
consolidated with the other Materials of which they are formed, 
and makes a great Part of their Substance. That, when 
they come to be digested, and to suffer in the Vessels a kind 
of Fermentation, part of the Fire, as well as part of the Air, 
recovers its fluid, active State again, and diffuses itself in 
the Body digesting and separating it. That the Fire, so 
reproduced by Digestion and Separation, continually leav- 
ing the Body, its Place is supplied by fresh Quantities, arising 


from the continual Separation. That whatever quickens 
the Motion of the Fluids in an Animal quickens the Separa- 
tion, and reproduces more of the Fire, as Exercise. That 
all the Fire emitted by Wood and other Combustibles when 
burning existed in them before in a solid State, being only 
discover' d when separating. That some Fossils, as Sulphur, 
Sea-Coal, &c., contain a great deal of solid Fire. And that 
in short, what escapes and is dissipated in the burning of 
Bodies, besides Water and Earth, is generally the Air and 
Fire that before made Parts of the Solid. Thus I imagine, 
that Animal Heat arises by or from a kind of Fermentation 
in the Juices of the Body, in the same manner as Heat arises 
in the Liquors preparing for Distillation, wherein there is 
a Separation of the Spirituous, from the Watery and Earthy 
Parts. And it is remarkable, that the Liquor in a Dis- 
tiller's Vat, when in its highest and best State of Fermenta- 
tion, as I have been inform'd, has the same Degree of Heat 
with the Human Body, that is about 94 or 96. 

Thus, as by a constant supply of Fuel in a Chimney, 
you keep a warm Room, so, by a constant supply of Food 
in the Stomach, you keep a warm Body ; only where little 
Exercise is used, the Heat may possibly be conducted away 
too fast; in which Case such Materials are to be used for 
Cloathing and Bedding, against the Effects of an immediate 
contact of the Air, as are, in themselves, bad Conductors of 
Heat, and, consequently prevent its being communicated 
thro' their Substances to the Air. Hence what is called 
Warmth in Wool, and its Preference, on that Account, to 
Linnen; Wool not being so good a Conductor. And hence 
all the natural Coverings of Animals, to keep them warm, 
are such as retain and confine the natural Heat in the Body 

1757] TO JOHN LINING 389 

by being bad Conductors, such as Wool, Hair, Feathers, 
and the Silk by which the Silk-Worm, in its tender embrio 
State, is first cloathed. Cloathing thus considered does 
not make a Man warm by giving Warmth, but by preventing 
the too quick dissipation of the Heat produced in his Body, 
and so occasioning an Accumulation. 

There is another curious Question I will just venture to 
touch upon, viz. Whence arises the sudden extraordinary 
Degree of Cold, perceptible on mixing some chymical Liquors, 
and even on mixing Salt and Snow, where the Composition 
appears colder than the coldest of the Ingredients? I have 
never seen the chymical Mixtures made ; but Salt and Snow 
I have often mixed myself, and am fully satisfied that the 
Composition feels much colder to the Touch, and lowers the 
Mercury in the Thermometer more, than either Ingredient 
would do separately. I suppose, with others, that Cold is 
nothing more than the Absence of Heat or Fire. Now if 
the Quantity of Fire before contained or diffused in the 
Snow and Salt was expell'd in the uniting of the two Matters, 
it must be driven away either thro' the Air or the Vessel 
containing them. If it is driven off thro' the Air, it must 
warm the Air; and a Thermometer held over the Mixture, 
without touching it, would discover the Heat, by the rising 
of the Mercury, as it must, and always does, in warmer Air. 

This indeed I have not try'd but I should guess it would 
rather be driven off thro' the Vessel, especially if the Vessel 
be Metal, as being a better Conductor than Air, and so one 
should find the Bason warmer after such Mixture. But 
on the Contrary the Vessel grows cold, and even Water, 
in which the Vessel is sometimes placed for the Experiment, 
freezes into hard Ice on the Bason. Now I know not how 


to account for this, otherwise than by supposing, that the 
Composition is a better Conductor of Fire than the In- 
gredients separately and like the Lock compar'd with the 
Wood, has a stronger Power of Attracting Fire, and does 
accordingly attract it suddenly from the Fingers, or a Ther- 
mometer put into it, from the Bason that contains it, and 
from the Water in Contact with the outside of the Bason; 
so that the Fingers have the Sensation of extreme Cold, 
by being deprived of much of their natural Fire; the Ther- 
mometer sinks, by having part of its Fire drawn out of the 
Mercury ; the Bason grows colder to the Touch, as by having 
its Fire drawn into the Mixture, it is become more capable 
of drawing and receiving it from the Hand, and thro' the 
Bason, the Water loses its Fire that kept it fluid ; so it becomes 
Ice. One would expect, that from all this attracted Acquisi- 
tion of Fire to the Composition, it should become warmer; 
and, in Fact, the Snow and Salt dissolve at the same time 
into Water, without freezing. 

I doubt whether I have in all this talk'd intelligibly; 
and indeed how should a Man do so that does not himself 
clearly understand the Thing he talks of? This I confess 
to be my present Case. I intended to amuse you, but I 
fear I have done more and tired you. Be so good as to 
excuse it, and believe me with sincere Esteem and Respect, 

Your etc 




New York, April 19, 1757. 


I wrote a few lines to you yesterday, but omitted to answer 
yours, relating to sister Dowse. As having their own way 
is one of the greatest comforts of life to old people, I think 
their friends should endeavour to accommodate them in 
that, as well as in any thing else. When they have long lived 
in a house, it becomes natural to them; they are almost as 
closely connected with it, as the tortoise with his shell ; they 
die, if you tear them out of it; old folks and old trees, if 
you remove them, it is ten to one that you kill them; so let 
our good old sister be no more importuned on that head. We 
are growing old fast ourselves, and shall expect the same kind 
of indulgences; if we give them, we shall have a right to 
receive them in our turn. 

And as to her few fine things, I think she is in the right 
not to sell them, and for the reason she gives, that they will 
fetch but little; when that little is spent, they would be of 
no further use to her ; but perhaps the expectation of possess- 
ing them at her death may make that person tender and 
careful of her, and helpful to her to the amount of ten times 
their value. If so, they are put to the best use they possibly 
can be. 

I hope you visit sister as often as your affairs will permit, 
and afford her what assistance and comfort you can in her 
present situation. Old age, infirmities, and poverty, joined, 

1 From "A Collection of the Familiar Letters of Benjamin Franklin," 
Boston, 1833, P- 5- ED. 


are afflictions enough. The neglect and slights of friends 
and near relations should never be added. People in her 
circumstances are apt to suspect this sometimes without 
cause; appearances should therefore be attended to, in our 
conduct towards them, as well as realities. I write by this 
post to cousin Williams, to continue his care, which I doubt 
not he will do. 

We expect to sail in about a week, so that I can hardly 
hear from you again on this side the water ; but let me have 
a line from you now and then, while I am in London. I 
expect to stay there at least a twelvemonth. Direct your 
letters to be left for me at the Pennsylvania Coffee-house, 
in Birchin Lane, London. My love to all, from, dear 

sister, your affectionate brother, 


P. S. April 25th. We are still here, and perhaps may be 
here a week longer. Once more adieu, my dear sister. 


New York, April 29. 1757 


I wrote to you yesterday per Post. This is only to ac- 
quaint you, that I am determined against going in the first 

Send me the Indian Sealskin Hussiff with all the Things 
that were in it. It will be an acceptable Present to a 
Gimcrack great Man in London, that is my Friend. In 
the right hand little Drawer under my Desk, is some of the 
Indian Lady's Gut-Cambrick ; roll it up as you would a 

1757] TO MRS. JANE MECOM 393 

Ribband; wrap it in Paper, and put it into the Houssiff 
with the other Things. 

Among my Books on the Shelves, there are two or three 
little Pieces on the Game of Chess. One in French bound 
in Leather, 8 V . one in a blue Paper Cover, English ; 
two others in Manuscript ; one of them thin in brown Paper 
Cover, the other in loose Leaves not bound. If you can 
find them your self, send them : But do not set anybody 
else to look for them. You may know the French one, 
by the Word ECHECS in the Titlepage. 

I wrote you fully about the Acct Books ; so add only my 
Love to all Friends, from 

Your affectionate Husband 



Woodbridge, New Jersey, May 21, 1757. 

I received your kind letter of the gth instant, in which you 
acquainted me with some of your late troubles. These are 
troublesome times to us all ; but perhaps you have had more 
than you should. I am glad to hear, that Peter is at a place 
where he has full employ. A trade is a valuable thing ; but, 
unless a habit of industry be acquired with it, it turns out of 
little use ; if he gets that in his new place, it will be a happy 
exchange, and the occasion not an unfortunate one. It is very 
agreeable to me to hear so good an account of your other 

1 From "A Collection of the Familiar Letters of Benjamin Franklin," 
Boston, 1833, p. 52. ED. 


children; in such a number to have no bad ones is a great 

The horse sold very low indeed. If I wanted one to- 
morrow, knowing his goodness, old as he is, I should freely 
give more than twice the money for him ; but you did the best 
you could, and I will take of Benny no more than he pro- 

I don't doubt but Benny will do very well when he gets 
to work ; but I fear his things from England may be so long 
a coming, as to occasion the loss of the rent. Would it not 
be better for you to move into the house ? Perhaps not, if 
he is near being married. I know nothing of that affair, 
but what you write me, except that I think Miss Betsey a 
very agreeable, sweet-tempered, good girl, who has had a 
housewifely education, and will make, to a good husband, 
a very good wife. Your sister and I have a great esteem for 
her ; and, if she will be kind enough to accept of our nephew, 
we think it will be his own fault, if he is not as happy as the 
married state can make him. The family is a respectable 
one, but whether there be any fortune I know not; and, as 
you do not inquire about this particular, I suppose you think 
with me, that where every thing else desirable is to be met 
with, that is not very material. If she does not bring a for- 
tune, she will help to make one. Industry, frugality, and 
prudent economy in a wife, are to a tradesman, in their effects, 
a fortune; and a fortune sufficient for Benjamin, if his ex- 
pectations are reasonable. We can only add, that, if the 
young lady and her friends are willing, we give our consent 
heartily, and our blessing. My love to brother and the 
children. Your affectionate brother, 



P. S. If Benny will promise to be one of the tenderest 
husbands in the world, I give my consent. He knows already 
what I think of Miss Betsey. I am his loving aunt, 



New York, Friday, May 27, '57, Afternoon 


Mr. Parker being doubtful this Morning whether the 
Rain would permit his setting out to-day, I had prepared no 
Letter to send by Sally, when he took a sudden Resolution 
to go. Mr. Golden * could not spare his Daughter, as she 
helps him in the Post- Office, he having no Clerk. I inclose 
only the 4th Bills, which you are to put up safe with my 
Writings. The first Set I take with me, the second goes 
in Radford, and I now send the third by Bonnel. 

All the Pacquets are to sail together with the Fleet, but 
when that will be is yet uncertain. For yesterday came in 
three Privateers with several Prizes, and by them there is 
Advice that the French Fleet, which was in the West Indies, 
is gone to the Northward ; and now tis questioned whether 
it will be thought prudent for these Transports to sail till 
there is certain Advice, that the Grand Fleet is arrived from 
England. This, however, is only Town Talk. 

I send Mr. Kneeland's Letter. Pray forward the Paper 
he writes for, by first Opportunity. I send a Memorandum 
rec'd from Joseph Crocker, with a Note on the Back of it. 
I leave it to yourself, whether to go home directly or stay a 
little longer. If I find we are not like to sail for some time, 

1 Mr. Alexander Golden, who was postmaster in New York. ED. 


I shall perhaps stay down to Woodbridge, and try to finish 
my Work. But it may be that your longer Absence from 
home will be attended with some Inconvenience. I am 
making up a Bundle of Papers to send you. Put them into 
my Room. I can hear nothing yet of the cloaths. 

I have been very low-spirited all Day. This tedious 
State of Uncertainty and long Waiting has almost worn out 
my Patience. Except the two or three Weeks at Woodbridge, 
I know not when I have spent time so uselessly, as since I 
left Philadelphia. 

I left my best Spectacles on the Table. Please to send 
them to me. 

Saturday Morning. Jemmy got here early, and tells me 
Mr. Parker and the Children got well down. In my Room 
on the Folio Shelf between the Clock and our Bedchamber 
and not far from the Clock, stands a Folio, calPd the Garde- 
ner's Dictionary, by P. Miller. And on the same Side of the 
Room, on the Lowest Shelf or lowest but one, near the 
Middle, and by the Side of a little Partition, you will find 
standing or rather lying on its fore Edge a Quarto Pamphlet, 
cover'd with blue Paper, calPd a Treatise o] Cyder-making. 
Deliver those two Books to Mr. Parker. 

Sunday Ajternoon. Yesterday, while I was at my Lord's, 1 
with whom I had the honour to dine, Word was brought in 
that 5 Sail of French Men-of-War were seen off Egg Har- 
bour the Day before ; and, as some of the French Prisoners 
lately brought in in the prizes report, that such a Number of 
Men-of-War sailed with them from the West Indies to go to 
the Northward, it might be suppos'd to be them if the Acc't 

1 Lord Loudoun, who had lately arrived as commander-in-chief in America, 
being successor to General Shirley. ED. 

1757] TO ISAAC NORRIS 397 

from Egg Harbour was true. If on Examination it should be 
found true, and the French take it in their Heads to cruize 
off this Port with such a Force, we shall then be shut up here 
for some time, for our Fleet here is not of Force sufficient to 
venture out. If this story be not true, yet 'tis thought by some 
we shall hardly sail till there is certain Advice of the English 
Fleet's being arriv'd at Halifax, and perhaps not till a Convoy 
comes from thence to guard us. So I am wavering whether 
I had not best go down again to Woodbridge and finish my 

I spent the evening last Night with Mr. NichoPs Family, 
who all desired their Compliments to you and Sally. I send 
you one of the French Books translated. 

Monday Morning. Our going is yet uncertain. I be- 
lieve I shall put every thing on board to-morrow, and 
either go down again to Woodbridge or send for the Trunk 
of Books hither to employ myself till we have sailed. 1 The 
report of French men-of-war off the coast is vanished. I am, 
my dear Debby, your ever loving husband, 


252. TO ISAAC NORRIS 2 (A. p. s.) 
New York, May 30, 1757. 


After waiting here above Seven Weeks for the Sailing of 
the Pacquet, the Time of her Departure is no more ascer- 
tain'd now than it was the Day of our Arrival. The Pac- 
quets, it is now said, are all three to sail with the Fleet; 

1 A paragraph omitted paper torn. ED. 

a For many years Speaker of the Assembly in Pennsylvania. 


the two first to be dismiss'd soon after the Fleet is at Sea; 
the third to go with the Fleet to the Place of Rendezvous, 
and not to be discharg'd till the Arrival and Junction of the 
Fleet from England. But this is not certain: Resolutions 
change as Advices are receiv'd, or Occurrences arise, And 
it is doubted whether the Fleet will sail from hence till there 
is certain News of the Arrival of that from England, since 
there is Intelligence that Beaufremont's Squadron is gone 
from the West Indies to the Northward. 

I have had the Hon r of several Conferences with my Lord 
[Loudoun], on the Subject of the Servants. 1 His L p objects, 
first, that it appears by the List, which I laid before him, 
that many of the Servants were inlisted in General Braddock 
and Gen. Shirley's time; with those he has nothing to do. 
2dly, that many were inlisted before the Act of Parliament 
appointed Satisfaction to be made to the Masters; and as 
all the lawyers agree that the Right to take them without 
Pay was clearly in the King before the Act, no Satisfaction 
should be made or expected for these. 3d, that the particular 
Proofs of the Loss of each Servant, and of his being enlisted 
in the K's Service, do not appear. 4th, that the Affair is 
now so intricate and perplex'd, that it would take more time 
to examine and settle it, than he can possibly spare. 5th. 
That if his Officers had done wrong in not paying for the 

1 It was common for emigrants, of the poorer class, to pay for their 
passage by selling their time for a certain number of years to the captain, 
in whose ship they came over. The time, or term of service, thus pledged, 
was sold by the captain, after his arrival in port, to farmers in the country. 
During the war, it had been a practice of the recruiting officers to enlist these 
servants into the army, thus depriving the farmers of their services, and of the 
value that had been paid for them. Redress was sought from the government, 
and Franklin was instructed to lay the subject before Lord Loudoun, the 
commander-in-chief of the army. S. 

1757] TO ISAAC NORRIS 399 

Servants, as they took them, the Fault was our own ; it was 
owing to some principal People among ourselves, whom he 
could name, who had always assur'd the Officers, the Assem- 
bly intended to pay for the Servants, and by that means led 
them into the Error. 

His Lordship made several other Observations and Objec- 
tions, all which I answered and endeavoured to remove as 
well as I could ; but there is, I believe, one at Bottom, which 
it is not in my Power to remove, and that is the Want of 
Money. The Expences of an American War necessarily 
run very high, and are complain'd of by some in England; 
and his Lordship is unwilling to discourage the Ministry at 
home by large charges. He will therefore mix none of those 
of his Predecessors with his own, he makes the most frugal 
Agreements, and avoids all Payments, that he can avoid 
with Honour. For Instance, there is a Ballance not very 
large due to me, on my Acc't of Waggons and Forage sup- 
ply'd to General Braddock. I presented the Account to his 
Lordship, who had it examin'd and compared with the 
Vouchers; and, on Report made to him that it was right, 
order'd a Warrant to be drawn for the Payment. But 
before he sign'd it, he sent for me, told me that as the Money 
became due before his time, he had rather not mix it in his 
Accounts, if it would be the same thing to me to receive it 
in England. He believed it a fair and just Acc't, and as such 
would represent it home, so that I should meet with no Diffi- 
culty in getting it paid there. I agred to his L p>s Proposal, 
and the Warrant was laid aside. 

I once proposed to his L p , that, if he would appoint, or 
desire Gov. Denny to appoint, some Persons of Credit in 
Pensilvania to examine the Claims of the Masters, and report 


to his L p at the End of the Campaign, it might for the present 
make the Minds of the Sufferers more easy ; and he could then 
order Payment for such Part as he should find right for him 
to pay, and we might endeavour to procure Satisfaction else- 
where for the rest. His L p declin'd this, saying, that he knew 
not who to appoint, being unacquainted with the People; 
that he did not care to trouble Gov r Denny with it, of whom 
he must ask it as a Favour; and besides, Auditors, in the 
Plantations, of Ace* against the Crown had in many In- 
stances been so shamefully partial and corrupt, that they had 
lost all Credit. If he appointed Auditors, they must be some 
of the Officers of the Army, who understood the Affair ; and 
at present they were engag'd in other Duty. 

I will not trouble you with a Detail of all I said to his L p 
on this Affair, tho' I omitted nothing material that occurred 
to me ; but I find he is for keeping the Matter in suspense, 
without either promising Payment or refusing to pay; per- 
haps till he receives Directions about it from home. He does 
not seem willing, however, that I should make any Applica- 
tion there relating to it, and chuses to keep the List in his 
Hands, till his Return from the Campaign. 

The List is, indeed, so very imperfect, that I could not 
promise myself much in laying it before him. Of many 
Servants it is not noted by what Officers, or in what Company, 
or even in what Regiment they were inlisted; of others, 
the Time they were bound for, or had served, or had still to 
serve, is omitted : Of others, no Notice is taken of the Price 
they cost ; nor is there any Distinction of Apprentices ; tho' 
perhaps the Account is the best that could be obtained, the 
Time and other Circumstances considered. Upon the whole, 
as the Enquiry, if it is ever made by my Lord's Order, will 

1757] TO ISAAC NORRIS 401 

be by Officers of the Army, they being, in his L ps Opinion 
the fittest Persons and most impartial; as all Inlistments 
before the Commencement of his Command will be rejected, 
and also all before the Act of Parliament: As very clear 
Proofs of every Circumstance, when the Servant was inlisted, 
by what Officer, of what Regiment, and the like, will be 
insisted on, and the Recruiting Officers at the Time took 
such effectual Care to prevent the Master's knowing any thing 
of these Circumstances; I am enclined to think very little 
Benefit will be produced by such Enquiry ; and that our Ap- 
plication home for some Allowance on that Account will be 
better founded on what the Assembly, after their own Enquiry, 
have thought themselves oblig'd to pay, than on such an 
imperfect List as has been sent me. This, however, I sub- 
mit. And if it should still be thought proper to apply in 
England on the Footing of the List, another Copy must be 
forwarded by some future Opportunity. 

His Lordship has on all Occasions treated me with the 
greatest Goodness, but I find frequently, that wrong Preju- 
dices are infus'd into his Mind against our Province. We 
have too many Enemies among ourselves; but I hope in 
time Things will wear a better Face. Please to present my 
humble Respects to the House, and believe me, with great 

Esteem, &c. 


VOL. Ill 2 D 


New York, May 30, 1757. 


I have before me yours of the gth and i6th instant. I am 
glad you have resolved to visit sister Dowse oftener; it will 
be a great comfort to her to find she is not neglected by you, 
and your example may, perhaps, be followed by some others 
of her relations. 

As Neddy is yet a young man, I hope he may get over the 
disorder he complains of, and in time wear it out. My love 
to him and his wife, and the rest of your children. It gives 
me pleasure to hear, that Eben is likely to get into business 
at his trade. If he will be industrious and frugal, it is ten 
to one but he gets rich, for he seems to have spirit and 

I am glad that Peter is acquainted with the crown-soap 
business so as to make what is good of the kind. I hope he 
will always take care to make it faithfully, and never slight 
the manufacture, or attempt to deceive by appearances. 
Then he may boldly put his name and mark, and in a little 
time it will acquire as good a character, as that made by his 
late uncle, or any other person whatever. I believe his aunt 
at Philadelphia can help him to sell a good deal of it ; and I 
doubt not of her doing every thing in her power to promote 
his interest in that way. Let a box be sent to her (but not 
unless it be right good) and she will immediately return the 

1 From " A Collection of the Familiar Letters of Benjamin Franklin," 
Boston, 1833, p. 54. ED. 

1757] TO MRS. JANE MECOM 403 

ready money for it. It was beginning once to be in vogue 
in Philadelphia, but brother John sent me one box, an ordi- 
nary sort, which checked its progress. I would not have 
him put the Franklin arms on it ; but the soapboilers' arms 
he has a right to use, if he thinks fit. The other would look 
too much like an attempt to counterfeit. In his advertise- 
ments, he may value himself on serving his time with the 
original maker, but put his own mark or device on the papers, 
or any thing he may be advised to as proper ; only on the soap, 
as it is called by the name of crown-soap, it seems necessary 
to use a stamp of that sort, and perhaps no soapboiler in the 
King's dominions has a better right to the crown than him- 

Nobody has wrote a syllable to me concerning his making 
use of the hammer, or made the least complaint of him or 
you. I am sorry, however, that he took it without leave. 
It was irregular, and if you had not approved of his doing 
it, I should have thought it indiscreet. Leave, they say, is 
light, and it seems to me a piece of respect that was due to his 
aunt, to ask it, and I can scarce think she would have refused 
him the favour. 

I am glad to hear Johnny is so good and diligent a work- 
man. If he ever sets up at the goldsmith's business, he must 
remember, that there is one accomplishment without which 
he cannot possibly thrive in that trade, that is, perfect honesty. 
It is a business, that, though ever so uprightly managed, is 
always liable to suspicion ; and if a man is once detected in 
the smallest fraud, it soon becomes public, and every one is 
put upon his guard against him; no one will venture to try 
his wares, or trust him to make up his plate ; so at once he is 
ruined. I hope my nephew will, therefore, establish a char- 


acter as an honest and faithful, as well as skilful workman, 
and then he need not fear for employment. 

And now, as to what you propose for Benny, I believe he 
may be, as you say, well enough qualified for it ; and, when 
he appears to be settled, if a vacancy should happen, it is 
very probable he may be thought of to supply it ; but it is a 
rule with me not to remove any officer, that behaves well, 
keeps regular accounts, and pays duly; and I think the rule 
is founded on reason and justice. I have not shown any 
backwardness to assist Benny, where it could be done with- 
out injuring another. But if my friends require of me to 
gratify not only their inclinations, but their resentments, 
they expect too much of me. Above all things I dislike 
family quarrels, and, when they happen among my relations, 
nothing gives me more pain. If I were to set myself up as a 
judge of those subsisting between you and brother's widow 
and children, how unqualified must I be, at this distance, 
to determine rightly, especially having heard but one side. 
They always treated me with friendly and affectionate 
regard; you have done the same. What can I say between 
you, but that I wish you were reconciled, and that I will love 
that side best, that is most ready to forgive and oblige the 
other? You will be angry with me here, for putting you and 
them too much upon a footing; but I shall nevertheless be, 
dear sister, your truly affectionate brother, 




New York, June 2, 1757. 


I have just received yours of the 2Qth. . . . You do not 
tell me whether you take the Trunk of Books with you, but 
I suppose you do. It is now said we are all to go on board 
to-morrow, and fall down to the Hook. I hope it will be so, 
for, having now nothing to do, my Stay here is extremely 
tedious. Please to give my respects to Mrs. Moore, and 
assure her that I will take care of her Letters. You will 
find sundry Parcels that came from London, some directed 
to the Library Company, some for Mr. Bartram. Deliver 
them, if not deliver'd. . . . Desire Mr. Normandy to send 
after me a fresh Memorandum [of what] he wanted, Mr. 
Collinson having lost the former. 

I hope my dear Sally will behave in every thing to your 
satisfaction, and mind her Learning and Improvement. As 
my Absence will make your House quieter, and lessen your 
Business, you will have the more Leisure to instruct her and 
form her. I pray God to bless you both, and that we may 
once more have a happy Meeting. God preserve, guard, 
and guide you. 

It is a doubt whether your next Letters will reach us here. 
Billy joins with me in Love to all Friends, and presents his 
Duty to you and Love to his Sister. My Duty to mother 
and Love to all the Family. I shall endeavour to write to 
you once more before we sail, being as ever, my dear Child, 
your truly affectionate husband, 




How to make a STRIKING SUN DIAL, by which not only 
a Man's own Family, but all his Neighbours for ten Miles 
round, may know what a Clock it is, when the Sun shines, 
without seeing the Dial. 

Chuse an open Place in your Yard or Garden, on which 
the Sun may shine all Day without any Impediment from 
Trees or Buildings. 

On the Ground mark out your Hour Lines, as for a hori- 
zontal Dial, according to Art, taking Room enough for the 
Guns. On the Line for One o'Clock, place one Gun ; on the 
Two o'Clock Line two Guns, and so of the rest. The 
Guns must all be charged with Powder, but Ball is unneces- 
sary. Your Gnomon or Style must have twelve burning 
Glasses annex't to it, and be so placed that the Sun shining 
through the Glasses, one after the other, shall cause the 
Focus or burning Spot to fall on the Hour Line of One, for 
Example, at One a Clock, and there kindle a Train of Gun- 
powder that shall fire one Gun. At Two a Clock, a Focus 
shall fall on the Hour Line of Two, and kindle another 
Train that shall discharge two Guns successively : and so 
of the rest. 

Note, There must be 78 Guns in all. Thirty-two Pounders 
will be best for this Use ; but 18 Pounders may do, and will 
cost less, as well as use less Powder, for nine Pounds of 
Powder will do for one Charge of each eighteen Pounder, 
whereas the Thirty-two Pounders would require for each Gun 
1 6 Pounds. 

1 From " Poor Richard Improved: 1757." 

1758] THE WAY TO WEALTH 407 

Note also, That the chief Expense will be the Powder, 
for the Cannon once bought, will, with Care, last 100 

Note moreover, that there will be a great Saving of Powder 
in Cloudy Days. 

Kind Reader, Methinks I hear thee say, That is indeed a 
good Thing to know how the Time passes, but this Kind of 
Dial, notwithstanding the mentioned Savings, would be very 
Expensive ; and the Cost greater than the Advantage, Thou 
art wise, my Friend, to be so considerate beforehand; some 
Fools would not have found out 'so much, till they had 
made the Dial and try'd it. ... Let all such learn that 
many a private and many a publick Project, are like this 
Striking Dial, great Cost for little Profit. 



I have heard that nothing gives an Author so great Pleasure, 
as to find his Works respectfully quoted by other learned 
Authors. This Pleasure I have seldom enjoyed; for tho' 
I have been, if I may say it without Vanity, an eminent 
Author of Almanacks annually now a full Quarter of a Cen- 
tury, my Brother Authors in the same Way, for what Reason 
I know not, have ever been very sparing in their Applauses, 
and no other Author has taken the least Notice of me, so 
that did not my Writings produce me some solid Puddingy 


the great Deficiency of Praise would have quite discouraged 

I concluded at length, that the People were the best Judges 
of my Merit; for they buy my Works; and besides, in my 
Rambles, where I am not personally known, I have fre- 
quently heard one or other of my Adages repeated, with, as 
Poor Richard says, at the End on 't; this gave me some 
Satisfaction, as it showed not only that my Instructions 
were regarded, but discovered likewise some Respect for 
my Authority ; and I own, that to encourage the Practice of 
remembering and repeating those wise Sentences, I have 
sometimes quoted myself with great Gravity. 

Judge, then how much I must have been gratified by an 
Incident I am going to relate to you. I stopt my Horse 
lately where a great Number of People were collected at 
a Vendue of Merchant Goods. The Hour of Sale not being 
come, they were conversing on the Badness of the Times 
and one of the Company call'd to a plain clean old Man, 
with white Locks, "Pray, Father Abraham, what think you 
of the Times? Won't these heavy Taxes quite ruin the 
Country ? How shall we be ever able to pay them ? What 
would you advise us to?" Father Abraham stood up, and 
reply'd, "If you'd have my Advice, I'll give it you in short, 
for A Word to the Wise is enough, and many Words won't 
fill a Bushel, as Poor Richard says." They join'd in desir- 
ing him to speak his Mind, and gathering round him, he 
proceeded as follows; 

"Friends," says he, and Neighbours, "the Taxes are 
indeed very heavy, and if those laid on by the Government 
were the only Ones we had to pay, we might more easily 
discharge them; but we have many others, and much more 


grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by 
our Idleness, three times as much by our Pride, and four 
times as much by our Folly; and from these Taxes the 
Commissioners cannot ease or deliver us by allowing an 
Abatement. However let us hearken to good Advice, and 
something may be done for us; God helps them that help 
themselves, as Poor Richard says, in his Almanack of 1733. 

It would be thought a hard Government that should 
tax its People one-tenth Part of their Time, to be employed 
in its Service. But Idleness taxes many of us much more, if 
we reckon all that is spent in absolute Sloth, or doing of 
nothing, with that which is spent in idle Employments or 
Amusements, that amount to nothing. Sloth, by bringing 
on Diseases, absolutely shortens Life. Sloth, like Rust, 
consumes j aster than Labour wears; while the used Key is 
always bright, as Poor Richard says. But dost thou love Life, 
then do not squander Time, )or that's the stuff Life is made 
of, as Poor Richard says. How much more than is neces- 
sary do we spend in sleep, forgetting that The sleeping Fox 
catches no Poultry, and that There will be sleeping enough 
in the Grave, as Poor Richard says. 

// Time be of all Things the most precious, wasting Time 
must be, as Poor Richard says, the greatest Prodigality; 
since, as he elsewhere tells us, Lost Time is never found 
again; and what we call Time enough, always proves little 
enough: Let us then up and be doing, and doing to the 
Purpose; so by Diligence shall we do more with less Per- 
plexity. Sloth makes all Things difficult, but Industry all 
easy, as Poor Richard says; and He that riseth late must 
trot all Day, and shall scarce overtake his Business at Night; 
while Laziness travels so slowly, that Poverty soon overtakes 


him, as we read in Poor Richard, who adds, Drive thy 
Business, let not that drive thee; and Early to Bed, and 
early to rise, makes a Man healthy, wealthy, and wise. 

So what signifies wishing and hoping for better Times. 
We may make these Times better, if we bestir ourselves. 
Industry need not wish, as Poor Richard says, and he that 
lives upon Hope will die fasting. There are no Gains with- 
out Pains; then Help Hands, for I have no Lands, or if I 
have, they are smartly taxed. And, as Poor Richard like- 
wise observes, He that hath a Trade hath an Estate; and he 
that hath a Calling, hath an Office of Profit and Honour; 
but then the Trade must be worked at, and the Calling 
well followed, or neither the Estate nor the Office will enable 
us to pay our Taxes. If we are industrious, we shall never 
starve; for, as Poor Richard says, At the working Man's 
House Hunger looks in, but dares not enter. Nor will the 
Bailiff or the Constable enter, for Industry pays Debts, 
while Despair encreaseth them, says Poor Richard. What 
though you have found no Treasure, nor has any rich 
Relation left you a Legacy, Diligence is the Mother of Good- 
luck as Poor Richard says and God gives all Things to In- 
dustry. Then plough deep, while Sluggards sleep, and you 
shall have Corn to sell and to keep, says Poor Dick. Work 
while it is called To-day, for you know not how much you 
may be hindered To-morrow, which makes Poor Richard 
say, One to-day is worth two To-morrows, and farther, 
Have you somewhat to do To-morrow, do it To-day. If 
you were a Servant, would you not be ashamed that a 
good Master should catch you idle? Are you then your 
own Master, be ashamed to catch yourself idle, as Poor Dick 
says. When there is so much to be done for yourself, your 


Family, your Country, and your gracious King, be up by 
Peep of Day ; Let not the Sun look down and say, Inglorious 
here he lies. Handle your Tools without Mittens ; remember 
that The Cat in Gloves catches no Mice, as Poor Richard 
says. 'Tis true there is much to be done, and perhaps you 
are weak-handed, but stick to it steadily; and you will see 
great Effects, for Constant Dropping wears away Stones, 
and by Diligence and Patience the Mouse ate in two the 
Cable; and Little Strokes jell great Oaks, as Poor Richard 
says in his Almanack, the Year I cannot just now re- 

Methinks I hear some of you say, Must a Man afford 
himself no Leisure? I will tell thee, my friend, what Poor 
Richard says, Employ thy Time well, if thou meanest to gain 
Leisure; and, since thou art not sure of a Minute, throw not 
away an Hour. Leisure, is Time for doing something use- 
ful; this Leisure the diligent Man will obtain, but the lazy 
Man never; so that, as Poor Richard says A Life of Leisure 
and a Life of Laziness are two Things. Do you imagine 
that Sloth will afford you more Comfort than Labour? No, 
for as Poor Richard says, Trouble springs from Idleness, and 
grievous Toil from needless Ease. Many without Labour, 
would live by their Wits only, but they break for want of 
Stock. Whereas Industry gives Comfort, and Plenty, and 
Respect: Fly Pleasures, and they'll follow you. The dili- 
gent Spinner has a large Shift; and now I have a Sheep and 
a Cow, every Body bids me good Morrow; all which is well 
said by Poor Richard. 

But with our Industry, we must likewise be steady, settled, 
and careful, and oversee our own Affairs with our own Eyes, 
and not trust too much to others ; for, as Poor Richard says 


/ never saw an oft-removed Tree, 

Nor yet an oft-removed Family, 

That throve so well as those that settled be. 

And again, Three Removes is as bad as a Fire; and again, 
Keep thy Shop, and thy Shop will keep thee; and again, // 
you would have your Business done, go; if not, send. And 


He that by the Plough would thrive, 

Himself must either hold or drive. 

And again, The Eye of a Master will do more Work than 
both his Hands; and again, Want 0} Care does us more 
Damage than Want of Knowledge ; and again, Not to oversee 
Workmen, is to leave them your Purse open. Trusting too 
much to others' Care is the Ruin of many ; for, as the Alma- 
nack says, In the Affairs of this World, Men are saved, not by 
Faith, but by the Want oj it; but a Man's own Care is profit- 
able ; for, saith Poor Dick, Learning is to the Studious, and 
Riches to the Careful, as well as Power to the Bold, and 
Heaven to the Virtuous, And farther, // you would have 
a faithful Servant, and one that you like, serve yourself. And 
again, he adviseth to Circumspection and Care, even in the 
smallest Matters, because sometimes A little Neglect may 
breed great Mischief; adding, for want of a Nail the Shoe 
was lost; for want of a Shoe the Horse was lost; and for 
want of a Horse the Rider was lost, being overtaken and 
slain by the Enemy; all for want of Care about a Horse-shoe 

So much for Industry, my Friends, and Attention to one's 
own Business; but to these we must add Frugality, if we 
would make our Industry more certainly successful. A 
Man may, if he knows not how to save as he gets, keep his 
Nose all his Life to the Grindstone, and die not worth a 

1757] THE WAY TO WEALTH 413 

Groat at last. A fat Kitchen makes a lean Will, as Poor 
Richard says; and 

Many Estates are spent in the Getting, 

Since Women for Tea forsook Spinning and Knitting, 

And Men for Punch forsook Hewing and Splitting. 

If you would be wealthy, says he, in another Almanack, 
think of Saving as well as of Getting: The Indies have not 
made Spain rich, because her Outgoes are greater than her 

Away then with your expensive Follies, and you will 
not then have so much Cause to complain of hard Times, 
heavy Taxes, and chargeable Families; for, as Poor Dick 


Women and Wine, Game and Deceit, 
Make the Wealth small and the Wants great. 

And farther, What maintains one Vice, would bring up two 
Children. You may think perhaps, that a little Tea, or a 
little Punch now and then, Diet a little more costly, Clothes 
a little finer, and a little Entertainment now and then, can 
be no great Matter ; but remember what Poor Richard says, 
Many a Little makes a Mickle; and farther, Beware of little 
Expences; A small Leak will sink a great Ship; and again, 
Who Dainties love, shall Beggars prove; and moreover, 
Fools make Feasts, and wise Men eat them. 

Here you are all got together at this Vendue of Fineries 
and Knic knacks. You call them Goods; but if you do not 
take Care, they will prove Evils to some of you. You ex- 
pect they will be sold cheap, and perhaps they may for less 
than they cost; but if you have no Occasion for them, they 
must be dear to you. Remember what Poor Richard says; 
Buy what thou hast no Need of, and ere long thou shall sell 


thy Necessaries. And again, At a great Pennyworth pause 
a while: He means, that perhaps the Cheapness is apparent 
only, and not Real; or the bargain, by straitening thee in 
thy Business, may do thee more Harm than Good. For in 
another Place he says, Many have been ruined by buying 
good Pennyworths. Again, Poor Richard says, 'tis foolish to 
lay out Money in a Purchase of Repentance; and yet this 
Folly is practised every Day at Vendues, for want of minding 
the Almanack. Wise Men, as Poor Dick says, learn by others 
Harms, Fools scarcely by their own; but jelix quern jaciunt 
aliena pericula cautum. Many a one, for the Sake of Finery 
on the Back, have gone with a hungry Belly, and half- 
starved their Families. Silks and Sattins, Scarlet and Velvets, 
as Poor Richard says, put out the Kitchen Fire. 

These are not the Necessaries of Life ; they can scarcely 
be called the Conveniences; and yet only because they look 
pretty, how many want to have them! The artificial 
Wants of Mankind thus become more numerous than the 
Natural; and, as Poor Dick says, for one poor Person, there 
are an hundred indigent. By these, and other Extrava- 
gancies, the Genteel are reduced to poverty, and forced to 
borrow of those whom they formerly despised, but who 
through Industry and Frugality have maintained their 
Standing; in which Case it appears plainly, that A Plough- 
man on his Legs is higher than a Gentleman on his Knees, 
as Poor Richard says. Perhaps they have had a small 
Estate left them, which they knew not the Getting of; they 
think, 'tis Day, and will never be Night; that a little to be 
spent out of so much, is not worth minding; a Child and 
a Fool, as Poor Richard says, imagine Twenty shillings and 
Twenty Years can never be spent but, always taking out of 

1757] THE WAY TO WEALTH 415 

the Meal-tub, and never putting in, soon comes to the Bottom; 
as Poor Dick says, When the Weirs dry, they know the Worth 
of Water. But this they might have known before, if they 
had taken his Advice; // you would know the Value of 
Money, go and try to borrow some; for, he that goes a 
borrowing goes a sorrowing; and indeed so does he that lends 
to such People, when he goes to get it in again. Poor Dick 
farther advises, and says, 

Fond Pride of Dress is sure a very Curse ; 
Fancy you consult, consult your Purse. 

And again, Pride is as loud a Beggar as Want, and a great 
deal more saucy. When you have bought one fine Thing, 
you must buy ten more, that your Appearance may be all of 
a Piece; but Poor Dick says, 'Tis easier to suppress the first 
Desire, than to satisfy all that follow it. And 'tis as truly 
Folly for the Poor to ape the Rich, as for the Frog to swell, in 
order to equal the ox. 

Great Estates may venture more, 

But little Boats should keep near Shore. 

'Tis, however, a Folly soon punished; for Pride that dines 
on Vanity, sups on Contempt, as Poor Richard says. And in 
another Place, Pride breakfasted with Plenty, dined with 
Poverty, and supped with Infamy. And after all, of what 
Use is this Pride of Appearance, for which so much is risked 
so much is suffered? It cannot promote Health, or ease 
Pain ; it makes no Increase of Merit in the Person, it creates 
Envy, it hastens Misfortune. 

What is a Butterfly ? At best 
He^s but a Caterpillar drest 
The gaudy Fop^s his Picture just, 

as Poor Richard says. 


But what Madness must it be to run in Debt for these 
Superfluities ! We are offered, by the Terms of this Vendue, 
Six Months' Credit; and that perhaps has induced some of 
us to attend it, because we cannot spare the ready Money, 
and hope now to be fine without it. But, ah, think what 
you do when you run in Debt; you give to another Power 
over your Liberty. If you cannot pay at the Time, you will 
be ashamed to see your Creditor; you will be in Fear when 
you speak to him; you will make poor pitiful sneaking 
Excuses, and by Degrees come to lose your Veracity, and 
sink into base downright lying; for, as Poor Richard says 
The second Vice is Lying, the first is running in Debt. And 
again, to the same Purpose, Lying rides upon Debt's Back. 
Whereas a free-born Englishman ought not to be ashamed 
or afraid to see or speak to any Man living. But Poverty 
often deprives a Man of all Spirit and Virtue: 'Tis hard for 
an empty Bag to stand upright, as Poor Richard truly says. 

What would you think of that Prince, or that Govern- 
ment, who should issue an Edict forbidding you to dress like 
a Gentleman or a Gentlewoman, on Pain of Imprisonment 
or Servitude ? Would you not say, that you were free, have 
a Right to dress as you please, and that such an Edict would 
be a Breach of your Privileges, and such a Government 
tyrannical? And yet you are about to put yourself under 
that Tyranny, when you run in Debt for such Dress ! Your 
Creditor has Authority, at his Pleasure to deprive you of 
your Liberty, by confining you in Goal for Life, or to sell you 
for a Servant, if you should not be able to pay him ! When 
you have got your Bargain, you may, perhaps, think little 
of Payment ; but Creditors, Poor Richard tells us, have better 
Memories than Debtors; and in another Place says, Creditors 

1757] THE WAY TO WEALTH 417 

are a superstitious Sect, great Observers of set Days and 
Times. The Day comes round before you are aware, and 
the Demand is made before you are prepared to satisfy it, 
Or if you bear your Debt in Mind, the Term which at first 
seemed so long, will, as it lessens, appear extreamly short. 
Time will seem to have added Wings to his Heels as well 
as Shoulders. Tlwse have a short Lent, saith Poor Richard, 
who owe Money to be paid at Easter. Then since, as he says, 
The Borrower is a Slave to the Lender, and the Debtor to the 
Creditor, disdain the Chain, preserve your Freedom; and 
maintain your Independency: Be industrious and free; be 
frugal and free. At present, perhaps, you may think your- 
self in thriving Circumstances, and that you can bear a 
little Extravagance without Injury; but, 

For Age and Want, save while you may. 
No Morning Sun lasts a whole Day, 

as Poor Richard says. Gain may be temporary and un- 
certain, but ever while you live, Expence is constant and 
certain; and 'tis easier to build two Chimnies, than to keep 
one in Fuel, as Poor Richard says. So, Rather go to Bed 
supperless than rise in Debt. 

Get what you can, and what you get hold; 

''Tis the Stone that will turn all your lead into Gold, 

as Poor Richard says. And when you have got the Phi- 
losopher's Stone, sure you will no longer complain of bad 
Times, or the Difficulty of paying Taxes. 

This Doctrine, my Friends, is Reason and Wisdom; but 
after all, do not depend too much upon your own Indus- 
try, and Frugality, and Prudence, though excellent Things, 
for they may all be blasted without the Blessing of Heaven; 

VOL. Ill 2 E 


and therefore, ask that Blessing humbly, and be not unchari- 
table to those that at present seem to want it, but comfort 
and help them. Remember, Job suffered, and was after- 
wards prosperous. 

And now to conclude, Experience keeps a dear School, 
but Fools will learn in no other, and scarce in that; for it 
is true, we may give Advice, but we cannot give Conduct, as 
Poor Richard says: However, remember this, They that 
won't be counselled, can't be helped, as Poor Richard says: 
and farther, That, ij you will not hear Reason, she'll surely rap 
your Knuckles.'" 

Thus the old Gentleman ended his Harangue. The 
People heard it, and approved the Doctrine, and imme- 
diately practised the contrary, just as if it had been a com- 
mon Sermon; for the Vendue opened, and they began to 
buy extravagantly, notwithstanding, his Cautions and their 
own Fear of Taxes. I found the good Man had thoroughly 
studied my Almanacks, and digested all I had dropt on 
these Topicks during the Course of Five and twenty Years. 
The frequent Mention he made of me must have tired any 
one else, but my Vanity was wonderfully delighted with it, 
though I was conscious that not a tenth Part of the Wisdom 
was my own, which he ascribed to me, but rather the Glean- 
ings I had made of the Sense of all Ages and Nations. 
However, I resolved to be the better for the Echo of it ; and 
though I had at first determined to buy Stuff for a new 
Coat, I went away resolved to wear my old One a little longer. 
Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy Profit will be as great as 
mine. I am, as ever, thine to serve thee, 


July 7, 1757. 



London, July 27. 1757 

We arrived here well last Night, only a little fatigued with 
the last Day's Journey, being 70 Miles. I write only this 
Line, not knowing of any Opportunity to send it ; but Mr. 
Collinson will enquire for one, as he is going out. If he finds 
one, I shall write more largely. I have just seen Mr. Stra- 
han, who is well with his Family. Billy is with me here at 
Mr. Collinson's, and presents his Duty to you and Love to 
his Sister. My Love to all. I am, my dear Child, your 

loving Husband. 


P. S. Mr. Collinson says there was a Vessel going to 
New York, if not gone this Line will go by her. 


London, Nov. 22, 1757. 


During my illness, which continued near eight weeks, I 
wrote you several little letters, as I was able. The last was 
by the packet which sailed from Falmouth above a week 
since. In that I informed you, that my intermitting fever, 
which had continued to harass me, by frequent relapses, was 
gone off, and I have ever since been gathering strength and 
flesh. My doctor, Fothergill, who had forbid me the use 

1 From " The Works of Dr. Benjamin Franklin," 1817, Vol. VI, p. ao. 


of pen and ink, now permits me to write as much as I can 
without over fatiguing myself, and therefore I sit down to 
write more fully than I have hitherto been able to do. 

The 2d of September I wrote to you, that I had had a 
violent cold and something of a fever, but that it was almost 
gone. However, it was not long before I had another severe 
cold, which continued longer than the first, attended by 
great pain in my head, the top of which was very hot, and 
when the pain went off, very sore and tender. These fits 
of pain continued sometimes longer than at others; seldom 
less than 12 hours, and once 36 hours. I was now and 
then a little delirious: they cupped me on the back of 
the head which seemed to ease me for the present; I 
took a great deal of bark, both in substance and infusion, 
and too soon thinking myself well, I ventured out twice, to 
do a little business and forward the service I am engaged 
in, and both times got fresh cold and fell down again ; my 
good doctor grew very angry with me, for acting contrary 
to his cautions and directions, and obliged me to promise 
more observance for the future. He attended me very care- 
fully and affectionately; and the good lady of the house 
nursed me kindly; 1 Billy was also of great sendee to me, 
in going from place to place, where I could not go myself, 
and Peter was very diligent and attentive. I took so much 
bark in various ways, that I began to abhor it; I durst not 
take a vomit, for fear of my head ; but at last I was seized 
one morning with a vomiting and purging, the latter of 
which continued the greater part of the day, and I believe 

1 Mrs. Margaret Stevenson, mistress of a boarding-house, No. 7, Craven 
Street^ where Franklin lived during the fifteen years of his residence in 
London. ED. 


was a kind of crisis to the distemper, carrying it clear off; 
for ever since I feel quite lightsome, and am every day 
gathering strength ; so I hope my seasoning is over, and that 
I shall enjoy better health during the rest of my stay in 

I thank you for writing to me so frequently and fully; 
I believe I have missed none of your letters yet, but those 
by Lyon, who was taken. You mention Mr. Scott's being 
robbed, but do not say to what value ; was it considerable ? 
I have seen Mr. Ralph, and delivered him Mrs. Garrigues's 
letter. He is removed from Turnham Green, when I 
return, I will tell you every thing relating to him, in the 
mean time I must advise Mrs. Garrigues not to write to 
him again, till I send her word how to direct her letters, he 
being unwilling, for some good reasons, that his present 
wife should know any thing of his having any connections 
in America. He expresses great affection for his daughter 
and grandchildren. He has but one child here. 

I have found David Edwards, and send you some of his 
letters, with one for his father. I am glad to hear that our 
friends at Newark got well through the smallpox. 

The above particulars are in answer to things mentioned 
in your letters, and so are what follow. 

Governor Shirley's affairs are still in an uncertain state; 
he is endeavouring to obtain an enquiry into his conduct, 
but the confusion of public affairs occasions it to be post- 
poned. He and I visit frequently. I make no doubt but 
reports will be spread by my enemies to my disadvantage, 
but let none of them trouble you. If I find I can do my 
country no good, I will take care at least not to do it any 
harm; I will neither seek nor expect any thing for myself; 


and, though I may perhaps not be able to obtain for the 
people what they wish and expect, no interest shall induce 
me to betray the trust they have reposed in me; so make 
yourself quite easy with regard to such reports. 

Mr. Hunter is better than he has been for a long time, 
he and his sister desire to be remembered to you. I believe 
I left the seal with Mr. Parker. I am glad to hear that 
Mr. Boudinot has so seasonable a supply; and hope he will 
not go to mining again. I am obliged to all my friends that 
visit you in my absence. My love to them. 

Mr. Ralph delivered me your letters very obligingly; he 
is well respected by people of value here. I thank you for 
sending me brother Johnny's journal; I hope he is well, 
and sister Read and the children. I am sorry to hear of 
Mr. Burt's death. He came to me at New York, with a 
proposal that I did not approve of, but it showed his good 
will and respect for me ; when I return, I will tell you what 
it was. I shall entertain Mr. Collinson and Dr. Fothergill 
with your account of Teedyuskung's visit. 

I should have read Sally's French letter with more pleasure, 
but that I thought the French rather too good to be all her 
own composing. I suppose her master must have corrected 
it. But I am glad she is improving in that and her music; 
I send her a French Pamela. 

You were very lucky in not insuring the rum. We are 
obliged to Mr. Booth for his care in that remittance. I sup- 
pose you have wrote to acknowledge the receipt of it. I 
have not yet seen Mr. Burkett. I am not much surprised 
at Green's behaviour; he has not an honest principle, I 
fear. I have not yet seen Mr. Walsteinholme, but he is 
arrived. I am glad you went to Elizabethtown, and that 


Ben has got that good girl. I hope they will do well, when 
you write, remember my love to her. 

December 3. I write by little and little as I can find 
time; I have now gone through all your agreeable letters, 
which give me fresh pleasure every time I read them. Last 
night I received another, dated October 16, which brings 
me the good news that you and Sally were got safe home; 
your last of the pth, being from Elizabethtown. Budden's 
ship is not yet come up to London, but is daily expected, 
having been some time at Cowes. Mr. Hall has sent me a 
bill, as you mention. Mr. Walsteinholme is come to town, 
and I expect to see him to-day. When I have enquired how 
things are with Green, I shall write some directions to you 
what to do in the affair. 

I am glad to hear that Miss Ray is well, and that you 
correspond. It is not convenient to be forward in giving 
advice in such cases. She has prudence enough to judge 
for herself, and I hope she will judge and act for the 

I hear there has a miniature painter gone over to Phila- 
delphia, a relation to John Reynolds. If Sally's picture is 
not done to your mind by the young man, and the other 
gentleman is a good hand and follows the business, suppose 
you get Sally's done by him, and send it to me with your 
small picture, that I may here get all our little family drawn 
in one conversation piece. I am sorry to hear of the general 
sickness; I hope it is over before this time; and that little 
Franky is recovered. 

I was as much disappointed in my intention of writing 
by that packet, as you were in not receiving letters by her, 
and it has since given me a great deal of vexation. I wrote 


to you by way of New York, the day after my arrival in 
London, which I do not find you have received. 

I do not use to be a backward correspondent, though my 
sickness has brought me behindhand with my friends in 
that respect. Had I been well, I intended to have gone 
round among the shops and bought some pretty things for 
you and my dear good Sally (whose little hands you say 
eased your headache) to send by this ship, but I must now 
defer it to the next, having only got a crimson satin cloak 
for you, the newest fashion, and the black silk for Sally; 
but Billy sends her a scarlet feather, muff, and tippet, and 
a box of fashionable linen for her dress; in the box is a 
thermometer for Mr. Taylor, and one for Mr. Schlatter, 
which you will carefully deliver; as also, a watch for Mr. 
Schlatter. I shall write to them. The black silk was sent 
to Mr. Neates, who undertook to forward it in some package 
of his. 

It is now twelve days since I began to write this letter, 
and I still continue well, but have not yet quite recovered 
my strength, flesh, or spirits. I every day drink a glass of 
infusion of bark in wine, by way of prevention, and hope my 
fever will no more return ; on fair days, which are but few, 
I venture out about noon. The agreeable conversation I 
meet with among men of learning, and the notice taken 
of me by persons of distinction, are the principal things 
that soothe me for the present, under this painful absence 
from my family and friends. Yet those would not keep 
me here another week, if I had not other inducements; 
duty to my country, and hopes of being able to do it ser- 
-Pray remember me kindly to all that love us, and to all 

1757] TO JOHN PRINGLE 425 

that we love. Tis endless to name names. I am, my dear 
child, your loving husband, 



Craven-Street, Dec. 21, 1757. 


In compliance with your request, I send you the following 
account of what I can at present recollect relating to the 
effects of electricity in paralytic cases, which have fallen 
under my observation. 

Some years since, when the news-papers made mention 
of great cures performed in Italy and Germany, by means of 
electricity, a number of paralytics were brought to me from 
different parts of Pensylvania, and the neighbouring prov- 
inces, to be electrised, which I did for them at their request. 
My method was, to place the patient first in a chair, on an 
electric stool, and draw a number of large strong sparks from 
all parts of the affected limb or side. Then I fully charged 
two six gallon glass jars, each of which had about three 
square feet of surface coated ; and I sent the united shock of 
these through the affected limb or limbs, repeating the stroke 
commonly three times each day. The first thing observed, 
was an immediate greater sensible warmth in the lame 
limbs that had received the stroke, than in the others; and 
the next morning the patients usually related, that they had 
in the night felt a pricking sensation in the flesh of the para- 
lytic limbs; and would sometimes shew a number of small 

1 Afterwards Sir John Pringle, and President of the Royal Society, 1772- 
1778. From "Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, 
p. 359. ED. 


red spots, which they supposed were occasioned by those 
prickings. The limbs, too, were found more capable of 
voluntary motion, and seemed to receive strength. A man, 
for instance, who could not the first day lift the lame hand 
from off his knee, would the next day raise it four or five 
inches, the third day higher; and on the fifth day was able, 
but with a feeble languid motion, to take off his hat. These 
appearances gave great spirits to the patients, and made 
them hope a perfect cure; but I do not remember that I 
ever saw any amendment after the fifth day; which the 
patients perceiving, and finding the shocks pretty severe, 
they became discouraged, went home, and in a short time 
relapsed; so that I never knew any advantage from elec- 
tricity in palsies that was permanent. And how far the 
apparent temporary advantage might arise from the exer- 
cise in the patients' journey, and- coming daily to my house, 
or from the spirits given by the hope of success, enabling 
them to exert more strength in moving their limbs, I will not 
pretend to say. 

Perhaps some permanent advantage might have been 
obtained, if the electric shocks had been accompanied with 
proper medicine and regimen, under the direction of a skil- 
ful physician. It may be, too, that a few great strokes, as 
given in my method, may not be so proper as many small 
ones ; since, by the account from Scotland of a case, in which 
two hundred shocks from a phial were given daily, it seems, 
that a perfect cure has been made. As to any uncommon 
strength supposed to be in the machine used in that case, I 
imagine it could have no share in the effect produced ; since 
the strength of the shock from charged glass is in proportion 
to the quantity of surface of the glass coated; so that my 

1758] TO JOHN PRINGLE 427 

shocks from those large jars must have been much greater 
than any that could be received from a phial held in the 
hand. I am, with great respect, Sir, 

Your most obedient servant, 


g Craven-Street, Jan. 6, 1758. 

I return Mr. Mitchell's paper on the strata of the 
earth with thanks. The reading of it, and perusal of the 
draft that accompanies it, have reconciled me to those con- 
vulsions which all naturalists agree this globe has suffered. 
Had the different strata of clay, gravel, marble, coals, lime- 
stone, sand, minerals, &c., continued to lie level, one under 
the other, as they may be supposed to have done before 
those convulsions, we should have had the use only of a few 
of the uppermost of the strata, the others lying too deep 
and too difficult to be come at; but the shell of the earth 
being broke, and the fragments thrown into this oblique 
position, the disjointed ends of a great number of strata of 
different kinds are brought up to day, and a great variety 
of useful materials put into our power, which would other- 
wise have remained eternally concealed from us. So that 
what has been usually looked upon as a ruin suffered by this 
part of the universe, was, in reality, only a preparation, or 
means of rendering the earth more fit for use, more capable 
of being to mankind a convenient and comfortable habitation. 

I am, Sir, with great esteem, yours, &c. 


1 From "Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, 
p. 362. ED. 



London, January 14, 1758. 


I wrote a very long letter to you lately, two whole sheets 
full, containing answers to all yours received during my 
sickness. I have since received your kind favours of 
November 13 and i6th. It has given me great concern 
that you should be so disappointed in having no letters by 
Captain Luthwycke : you know by this time how it happened ; 
but I wonder you should expect letters from me, by the way 
of Ireland, it being quite out of my knowledge when vessels 
are to sail from thence. 

I am thankful to God for sparing my little family in that 
time of general sickness, and hope to find them all well at 
my return. The New York paper you sent me was the 
latest that came, and of use to our friend Strahan. He 
has offered to lay me a considerable wager, that a letter he 
has wrote to you will bring you immediately over hither; 
but I tell him I will not pick his pocket ; for I am sure there 
is no inducement strong enough to prevail with you to cross 
the seas. I should be glad if I could tell you when I expected 
to be at home, but that is still in the dark; it is possible I 
may not be able to get away this summer; but I hope, if 
I stay another winter, it will be more agreeable than the 
greatest part of the time I have hitherto spent in England. 
But however I must bring my business to some conclusion. 

I received Sally's letter of November i2th, but cannot 

l From "The Works of Dr. Benjamin Franklin," Philadelphia (Duane), 
1817, Vol. VI, p. 28. ED. 


now write to her. I wrote to my friends generally by the 
last packet, and shall write to them again by a ship of Mr. 
Ralph's, to sail from here in about a fortnight. I am not 
yet quite so hearty as before my illness; but I think I am 
daily stronger and better, so I hope I have had my season- 
ing; but much writing still disorders me. 

My duty to mother, and love to Sally, Debby, Mr. Dunlap, 
and all friends that inquire after me. I am, my dear child, 
your ever loving husband, B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Billy presents his duty to you and mother, and love 
to his sister. 


London, January 21, 1758. 


Mr. Lorimer, a friend who is going over to General Aber- 
cromby, to assist him as a secretary, called on me just now, 
to acquaint me that he is on the point of setting out. I 
seize a minute or two just to let you know we are well, that 
is, I am well, compared to what I have been during a great 
part of the time since my arrival, and I hope with the spring 
to recover my full strength. Billy is quite hearty, and pre- 
sents his duty, love, &c. 

I have wrote to you by several opportunities lately, and 
particularly one long letter of two sheets, which I hope will 
come to hand, as it contained a full answer to a number of 
yours, received during my illness, and I have no copy of it. 

1 From "The Works of Dr. Benjamin Franklin," Philadelphia (Duane), 
1817, Vol. VI, p. 29. ED. 


I begin to think I shall hardly be able to return before this 
time twelve months. I am for doing effectually what I came 
about; and I find it requires both time and patience. You 
may think, perhaps, that I can find many amusements here 
to pass the time agreeable. 'Tis true, the regard and friend- 
ship I meet with from persons of worth, and the conversation 
of ingenious men, give me no small pleasure; but at this 
time of life, domestic comforts afford the most solid satis- 
faction, and my uneasiness at being absent from my family, 
and longing desire to be with them, make me often sigh in 
the midst of cheerful company. 

My love to my dear Sally. I confide in you the care of 
her and her education. I promise myself the pleasure of 
finding her much improved at my return. While I am writ- 
ing, three letters came in, one from Mr. Hall, one from 
Rhoads, another from Dr. Bond, but none from you: they 
are by way of Bristol. I must send this away immediately, 
lest Mr. Lorimer should be gone. My respects to those 
gentlemen, to whom I shall write, and to my other friends, 
by Mr. Ralph's vessel, which sails next week. I am, your 
ever loving husband, B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. When you write to Boston, give my love to sister 
Jenny, as I have not often time to write to her. If you 
please, you may send her the inclosed little picture. 


MY DEAR CHILD, London, Feb. 19. 1758. 

I have wrote you several long Letters lately; the last was 
by -Mr. Ralphe, and at the same time I wrote to my dear 


Sally. Last Night I received yours of the ist and 6th of 
January, which gave me the great Pleasure of hearing that 
you and my little Family were well. I hope you continue so, 
and that I shall have the Happiness to find you so. The 
Letter you mention to have sent me by Capt. Robinson is 
not come to hand; but that by Mr. Hunt I received and 

I regret the Loss of my Friend Parsons. Death begins 
to make Breaches in the little Junto of old Friends, that he 
had long forborne, and it must be expected he will now soon 
pick us all off one after another. 

Your kind Advice about getting a Chariot, I had taken 
some time before; for I found that every time I walk'd 
out, I got fresh Cold ; and the Hackney Coaches at this End 
of the Town, where most People keep their own, are the worst 
in the whole City, miserable, dirty, broken, shabby Things, 
unfit to go into when dress'd clean, and such as one would 
be asham'd to get out of at any Gentleman's Door. As to 
burning Wood, it would answer no End, unless one would 
furnish all one's Neighbours and the whole City with the 
same. The whole Town is one great smoaky House, and 
every Street a Chimney, the Air full of floating Sea Coal Soot, 
and you never get a sweet Breath of what is pure, without 
riding some Miles for it into the Country. 

I am sorry to hear, that a storm has damag'd a House 
of my good Friend's Mr. Bartram's. Acquaint him that 
I have receiv'd the Seeds, and shall write to him shortly. I 
hope the Speaker is recovered of the Illness you mention. 
Peter behaves very well to me in general and begins to know 
the town so as to go anywhere of Errands. My Shirts are 
always well air'd as you directed. Mrs. Stevenson takes care 


of that. I am much more tender than I us'd to be, and sleep 
in a short Callico Bedgown with close Sleeves, and Flannel 
close- footed Trousers; for without them I get no Warmth 
all Night. So it seems I grow older apace. But otherwise 
at present I am pretty well. 

Give my Thanks to Dr. Bond for the Care he takes of 
you. I have wrote to him by this Vessel. Mr. Hunter and 
Polly talk of returning this Spring. He is wonderfully re- 
cruited. They both desire to be remembred to you. She 
received your Letter and answer' d it. Her Answer I enclos'd 
in one of mine to you. Her Daughter Rachel, who plays on 
the Harpsichord and sings prettily, sends Sally one of her 
Songs, that I fancy'd. 

I send you by Capt. Budden a large Case, mark'd D.F. 
No. i. and a small box DF N 2. In the large Case is another 
small Box, containing some English China ; viz. Melons and 
Leaves for a Desert of Fruit and Cream, or the like ; a Bowl 
remarkable for the Neatness of the Figures, made at Bow, 
near this City ; some Coffee Cups of the same ; a Worcester 
Bowl, ordinary. To show the Difference of Workmanship, 
there is something from all the China Works in England; 
and one old true China Bason mended, of an odd Colour. 
The same Box contains 4 Silver Salt Ladles, newest, but 
ugliest, Fashion ; a little Instrument to core Apples ; another 
to make little Turnips out of great ones; six coarse diaper 
Breakfast Cloths; they are to spread on the Tea Table, 
for nobody breakfasts here on the naked Table, but on the 
Cloth set a large Tea Board with the Cups. There is also 
a little Basket, a Present from Mrs. Stevenson to Sally, 
and a Pair of Garters for you, which were knit by the young 
Lady, her Daughter, who favoured me with a Pair of the same 


kind, the only ones I have been able to wear; as they need 
not be bound tight, the Ridges in them preventing their 
Slipping. We send them therefore as a Curiosity for the 
Form, more than for the Value. Goody Smith may, if she 
pleases, make such for me hereafter, and they will suit her 
own fat Knees. My Love to her. 

In the great Case, besides the little Box, is contained some 
Carpeting for a best Room Floor. There is enough for one 
large or two small ones, it is to be sow'd together, the Edges 
being first felFd down, and Care taken to make the Figures 
meet exactly : there is Bordering for the same. This was my 
Fancy. Also two large fine Flanders BedTicks, and two 
pair large superfine Blankets, 2 fine Damask TableCloths 
and Napkins, and 43 Ells of Ghentish Sheeting Holland; 
these you ordered. There is also 56 Yards of Cotton, 
printed curiously from Copper Plates, a new Invention, to 
make Bed and Window Curtains; and 7 yards Chair Bot- 
toms, printed in the same Way, very neat. These were my 
Fancy; but Mrs. Stevenson tells me I did wrong not to buy 
both of the same Colour. Also 7 yards of printed Cotton, 
blue Ground, to make you a Gown. I bought it by Candle- 
light, and lik'd it then, but not so well afterwards. If you 
do not fancy it, send it as a Present from me to sister Jenny. 
There is a better Gown for you, of flower' d Tissue, 16 yards, 
of Mrs. Stevenson's Fancy, cost 9 Guineas ; and I think it a 
great Beauty. There was no more of the Sort, or you should 
have had enough for a Negligee or Suit. 

There is also Snuffers, SnuffStand, and Extinguisher, of 
Steel, which I send for the Beauty of the Work. The Ex- 
tinguisher is for Spermaceti Candles only, and is of a new 
Contrivance, to preserve the Snuff upon the Candle. There is 

VOL. Ill 2 F 


also some Musick Billy bought for his Sister, and some Pam- 
phlets for the Speaker and for Susy Wright. A Mahogany 
and a little Shagrin Box, with Microscopes and other Optical 
Instruments loose, are for Mr. Allison, if he likes them; if 
not, put them in my Room till I return. I send the Invoice 
of them, and I wrote to him formerly the Reason of my 
exceeding his Orders. There are also two Sets of Books, a 
Present from me to Sally, The World and The Connoisseur. 
My love to her. 

I forgot to mention another of my Fancyings, viz. a Pair 
of Silk Blankets, very fine. They are of a new kind, were 
just taken in a French Prize, and such were never seen in 
England before: they are called Blankets, but I think will 
be very neat to cover a Summer Bed, instead of a Quilt or 
Counterpain. I had no Choice, so you will excuse the Soil 
on some of the Folds ; your Neighbour Forster can get it off. 
I also forgot, among the China, to mention a large fine Jugg 
for Beer, to stand in the Cooler. I fell in Love with it at first 
Sight; for I thought it look'd like a fat jolly Dame, clean 
and tidy, with a neat blue and white Calico Gown on, good 
natur'd and lovely, and put me in mind of Somebody. 
It has the Coffee Cups in its Belly, pack'd in best Chrystal 
Salt, of a peculiar nice Flavour, for the Table, not to be pow- 
der' d. N 2. contains cut Table Glass of several Sorts. 
I am about buying a compleat Set of Table China, 2 Cases 
of silver handled Knives and Forks, and 2 pair Silver Candle- 
sticks ; but these shall keep to use here till my Return, as I 
am obliged sometimes to entertain polite Company. 

I wrote you by former Letters everything relating to Mr. 
Ralph and other Friends and Affairs which I hope you have 


I hope Sally applys herself closely to her French and 
Musick, and that I shall find she has made great Proficiency. 
The Harpsichord I was about, and which was to have cost 
me 40 Guineas, Mr. Stanley advises me not to buy, and we 
are looking out for another, one that has been some time in 
use, and is a try'd good one, there being not so much De- 
pendance on a new One, tho' made by the best Hands. Sally's 
last Letter to her Brother is the best wrote that of late I have 
seen of hers. I only wish she was a little more careful of 
her Spelling. I hope she continues to love going to Church, 
and would have her read over and over again the Whole 
Duty of Man t and the Lady's Library. 

Look at the Figures on the China Bowl and Coffee Cups, 
with your Spectacles on; they will bear Examining. 

I have made your Compliments to Mrs. Stevenson. She 
is indeed very obliging, takes great Care of my Health, and 
is very diligent when I am any way indispos'd; but yet I 
have a thousand times wish'd you with me, and my little 
Sally with her ready Hands and Feet to do, and go, and come, 
and get what I wanted. There is a great Difference in Sick- 
ness between being nurs'd with that tender Attention, which 
proceeds from sincere Love ; and 1 


$IR y London, April 28, 1758. 

In pursuance of Mr. Winthrop's memorandum, which I 
lately received from you, through the hands of Mr. Mico, 

1 The remainder of this letter is lost. ED. 

2 From " A Collection of the Familiar Letters and Miscellaneous Papers 
of Benjamin Franklin" (Sparks), Boston, 1833, p. 57. ED. 


I have procured and delivered to him the following things, 

A mahogany case lined with lead, containing thirty-five 
square glass bottles, in five rows, seven in a row. 

A glass globe of the same size and kind with that I used 
at Philadelphia, and mounted in the same manner. 

A large glass cylinder, mounted on an iron axis with brass 
caps; this form being most used here, and thought better 
than the globe, as a long, narrow cushion will electrify a 
greater surface at the same time. 

The bottles have necks, which I think better than to be 
quite open ; for so they would either be exposed to the dust 
and damp of the air, if they had no stoppers, or the stoppers 
would be too near together to admit of electrifying a single 
bottle, or row of bottles ; there is only a little more difficulty 
in lining the inside with tinfoil, but that is chiefly got over 
by cutting it into narrow strips, and guiding them in with a 
stick flat at one end to apply the more conveniently to the 
pasted side of the glass. I would have coated them myself, 
if the time had not been too short. I send the tinfoil, which 
I got made of a proper breadth for the purpose ; they should 
be coated nine inches high, which brings the coating just even 
with the edge of the case. The tinfoil is ten inches broad, 
which allows for lapping over the bottom. 

I have bored the holes in all the stoppers for the com- 
municating wires, provided all the wires, and fixed one or two 
to show the manner. Each wire, to go into a bottle, is bent 
so that the two ends go in and spring against the inside coat- 
ing or lining. The middle of the wire goes up into the stopper, 
with an eye, through which the long communicating wires 
pass, that connect all the bottles in one row. 


To form occasional communications with more rows, 
there must be, on the long wires of the second and fourth 
rows, four other movable wires, which I call cross-wires, 
about two inches and a half long, with a small ball of any 
metal about the size of a pistol-bullet at each end. The 
ball of one end is to have a hole through the middle, so that 
it may be slipped on the long wire; and one of these cross- 
wires is to be placed between the third and fourth bottles 
of the row at each end ; and on each of the abovementioned 
rows, that is, two to each row, they must be made to turn 
easy on the wires, so that when you would charge only the 
middle row, you turn two of them back on the first, and two 
on the fifth row, then the middle row will be unconnected 
with the others. When you would charge more rows, you 
turn them forwards or backwards, so as to have the com- 
munication completed with just the number of rows you want. 

The brass handles of the case communicate with the out- 
side of the bottles, when you wish to make the electrical circuit. 

I see, now I have wrote it, that the greatest part of this 
letter would have been more properly addressed to Mr. 
Winthrop himself; but probably you will send it to him 
with the things, and that will answer the end. Be pleased 
to tender my best respects to him and the rest of the gentle- 
men of the College. 

I am, with great esteem and regard, Sir, 

Your most obliged humble servant, 


P. S. I beg the College will do me the favour to accept a 
Virgil, which I send in the case, thought to be the most 
curiously printed of any book hitherto done in the world. 1 

1 Baskerville's quarto edition of VirgiL ED. 



London, June 10, 1758. 


I was down at Cambridge with Billy when Snead sailed, 
so did not write again by him as I intended. His sailing so 
soon was unexpected to me. I am somewhat out of the Way 
of Vessels, and Mr. Partridge by Mistake wrote me Snead 
was not to sail that Week; so being very kindly entertain'd 
there in the Colleges, we did not hurry so soon home as we 
might have done. However, this Vessel perhaps may be 
there about the same time. 

I think nobody ever had more faithful Correspondents 
than I have in Mr. Hughes and you. I have now before me 
your Letters of Jan y 15, 22, 29, & 31. Feb. 3, 4, & 6. 
March 12. April 3, 9, 17, & 23, which is the last. I suppose 
I have near as many from Mr. Hughes. It is impossible for 
me to get or keep out of your Debts. I received the Bill 
of Exchange you got of Mr. Nelson, and it is paid. I re- 
ceived also the Proprietaries Ace*. It gives me Concern 
to receive such frequent Ace's of your being indisposed ; but 
we both of us grow in Years, and must expect our Constitu- 
tions, though tolerably good in themselves, will by degrees 
give way to the Infirmities of Age. 

I have sent in a Trunk of the Library Company's, some 
of the best Writing Paper for Letters, and best Quills and 
Wax, all for Mrs. Moore, which I beg she would accept; 
having received such Civilities here from her Sister and 
Brother Scot, as are not in my Power to return. I shall 
send, some to Sally by next Opportunity. By Capt. Lut- 


widge I sent my dear Girl a newest fashion'd white Hat and 
Cloak, and sundry little things, which I hope will get safe to 
hand. I now send her a pair of Buckles, made of French 
Paste Stones, which are next in Lustre to Diamonds. They 
cost three Guineas, and are said to be cheap at that Price. 
I fancy I see more Likeness in her Picture than I did at first, 
and I look at it often with Pleasure, as at least it reminds me 
of her. Yours is at the Painter's, who is to copy it, and do me 
of the same Size; but as to Family Pieces, it is said they 
never look well, and are quite out of Fashion ; and I find the 
Limner very unwilling to undertake any thing of the kind. 
However, when Franky's comes, and that of Sally by young 
Hesselius, I shall see what can be done. I wonder how you 
came by Ben Lay's Picture. 

You are very prudent not to engage in Party Disputes. 
Women never should meddle with them except in Endeav- 
ours to reconcile their Husbands, Brothers, and Friends, 
who happen to be of contrary Sides. If your Sex can keep 
cool, you may be a means of cooling ours the sooner, and 
restoring more speedily that social Harmony among Fellow- 
Citizens, that is so desirable after long and bitter Dissensions. 

Cousin Dunlap l has wrote me an Account of his pur- 
chasing Chattin's Printing-House. I wish it may be advan- 
tageous to him without injuring Mr. Hall. I can however 
do nothing to encourage him, as a Printer in Philadelphia, 
inconsistent with my PreEngagement to so faithful a Partner. 
And I trust you will take care not to do any thing in that way, 
that may draw Reflections on me; as if I did, underhand, 
thro' your means, what I would not care to appear in openly. 

1 William Dunlap was a native of Ireland, became a printer in Phila- 
delphia, and had recently married a relation of Mrs. Franklin. S. 


I hope he will keep a good Understanding with Mr. Hall, 
and am pleas'd to hear he asked his Advice and Friendship. 
But I have thought it right and necessary to forbid the 
Use of my Letters by Mr. Dunlap without Mr. HalPs Consent. 
The Post- Office, if 'tis agreable to you, may be removed to 
Mr. Dunlap's House, it being propos'd by our good Friend 
Mr. Hughes. 

I wrote to you lately to speak to Ambruster l not to make 
Use of my Name any more in his NewsPaper, as I have no 
particular Concern in it, but as one of the Trustees only. 
I have no Prospect of Returning till next Spring, so you will 
not expect me. But pray remember to make me as happy 
as you can, by sending some Pippins for myself and Friends, 
some of your small Hams, and some Cranberries. 

Billy is of the Middle Temple, and will be call'd to the 
Bar either this Term or the next. I write this in answer 
to your particular Enquiry. I am glad you like the Cloak 
I sent you. The black Silk was sent by our Friend Mr. 
Collinson. I never saw it. Your Answer to Mr. Strahan 
was just what it should be. I was much pleas'd with it. 
He fancy'd his Rhetoric and Art would certainly bring you 
over. Cousin Burkmaster has suffered much, and had a 
narrow Escape; I am concerned for his double Misfortune. 
A Ship and a Mistress are too much to lose at once; but 
let him think, if he can, that whatever is, is best. You men- 
tion sending a letter of Caty's, but it did not come. 

I have ordered two large print Common Prayer Books 
to be bound on purpose for you and Goodey Smith ; and that 

1 Anthony Ambruster, a German by birth, who printed German books 
in Philadelphia, and for some time published a newspaper there in the 
German language. S. 


the largeness of the Print may not make them too bulkey, 
the Christnings, Matrimonies, and every thing else that you 
and she have not immediate and constant Occasion for, 
are to be omitted. So you will both of you be reprieved 
from the Use of Spectacles in Church a little longer. 

If the ringing of the Bells frightens you, tie a Piece of Wire 
from one Bell to the other, and that will conduct the light- 
ning without ringing or snapping, but silently. Tho' I think 
it best the Bells should be at Liberty to ring, that you may 
know when the wire is electrify'd; and, if you are afraid 
may keep at a Distance. 1 I wrote last Winter to Josey 
Crocker to come over hither, and stay a year, and work 
in some of the best Shops for Improvement in his Business, 
and therefore did not send the Tools; but if he is about to 
be married, I would not advise him to come. I shall send 
the Tools immediately. You have dispos'd of the Apple- 
Trees very properly. I condole with you on the Loss of 
your Walnuts. 

I see the Governor's Treatment of his Wife makes all the 
Ladies angry. If 'tis on account of the bad Example, that 
will soon be remov'd; for the Proprietors are privately 
looking out for another; being determined to discard him, 
and the Place goes a begging. One to whom it was offer'd, 
sent a Friend to make some Enquiries of me. The Proprietor 
told him he had there a City-House and a Country-House, 
which he might use Rent free ; that every thing was so cheap 
he might live on 500 Sterling a Year, keep a genteel Table, 
a Coach, &c., and his Income would be at least 900. If 

1 In the year 1753 he had erected an iron rod for the purpose of drawing 
lightning from the clouds into his house. He also placed two bells in such a 
position, that they would ring when the rod was electrified. ED. 


it fell short of that, the Proprietor would engage to make 
it up. For the Truth of his being able to live genteely, and 
keep a Coach for 500 a year, the Proprietor refer'd him 
to Mr. Hamilton, who it seems told him the same story; 
but on Enquiring of Mr. Morris, he had quite a different 
Account, and knew not which to believe. The Gentleman 
is one Mr. Graves, a Lawyer of the Temple. He hesitated 
a good while, and I am now told he declines accepting it. 
I wish that may not be true ; for he has the Character of 
being a very good sort of Man; tho' while the Instructions 
continue, it matters little who is our Governor. It was to 
have been kept a Secret from me, that the Proprietors were 
looking out for a new one, because they would not have 
Mr. Denny know anything of it, till the Appointment should 
be actually made, and the Gentleman ready to embark. So 
you may make a Secret of it too, if you please, and oblige 
all your Friends with it. 

I need not tell you to assist Godmother in her Difficulties ; 
for I know you will think it as agreable to me, as it is to your 
own good Disposition. I could not find the Bit of Thread 
you mention to have sent me, of your own Spinning : per- 
haps it was too fine to be seen. I am glad little Frankey 
begins to talk. It will divert you to have him often with 

I think I have now gone thro' your Letters, which always 
give me great Pleasure to receive and read, since I cannot 
be with you in Person. Distribute my Compliments, Respects, 
and Love among my Friends, and believe me ever, my dear 

Debby, your affectionate Husband, 


'P.S. Mrs. Stevenson and her Daughter desire me to 


present their Respects and offer their Service to you and 
Sally. I think of going into the Country soon, and shall 
be pretty much out this Summer, in different Parts of Eng- 
land. I depend chiefly on these intended Journeys for the 
Establishment of my Health. 


London, June 10, 1758. 


In mine of May 13 I gave you a particular Ace 4 of the 
Hearing before the Att y and Sollicitor General, on a Refer- 
ence of Smith's Petition ; they have not yet made their Report, 
and would now, I hear, excuse themselves from doing it as 
unnecessary, since they have heard that the Prisoners are 
discharged. But they are still solicited by Mr. Perm and Mr. 
Moore to report, on an Allegation that they have Letters 
advising that Warrants are issued for taking them up again. 
None of my Letters from Pensilvania mentioning any thing 
of this, I have ventured to say I doubt the Truth of it. 
Whether they will report or not is uncertain ; But if they 
should report against us, I am determined to dispute the 
Matter again before the Council. 

I send you herewith a Copy of the Note I furnish'd our 
Sollicitor with, when drawing his Brief; a Copy of the Brief 
itself; a Copy of some Remarks on the Reflection thrown 
upon the Assembly by the Council at the first Hearing, as 
being Quakers and therefore against Defence, and as bear- 
ing Malice against Smith because a Clergyman of the Church 


of England, and against Moore because he petitioned for 
Defence, etc. These I gave to our Council before the 2d 
Hearing, when they were to speak, and they made good 
Use of them. I furnish'd also a Number of Cases from the 
Votes of Assemblies in the other Colonies, showing that they 
all claim'd and exercis'd a Power of committing for Breach 
of Privilege etc ; but of this Paper of Cases I have no Copy 
by me. 1 

Mr. Charles at my Request has drawn the State of a Case, 
in order to obtain Opinions of eminent Lawyers how far our 
present Privileges would be affected in case of a Change of 
Government, by our coming immediately under the Crown. I 
send you a Copy of this Case, with the Opinion of one Council 
upon it, who is esteem'd the best acquainted with our Ameri- 
can Affairs, and Constitutions, as well as with Government 
Law in general. He being also thoroughly knowing in the 
present Views of the leading Members of the Council and 
Board of Trade, and in their Connections and Characters, 
has given me withal, as a Friend, some prudential Advice 
in a separate Sheet distinct from his Law Opinion, because 

1 Petitions had been sent to the Assembly, charging William Moore, presi- 
dent of the court of common pleas in Chester county, with misconduct in his 
office. Moore was summoned to appear before the House, which he refused 
to do. The House found him guilty, however, and requested the governor to 
remove him from office. This was declined by the governor, till he should 
investigate the case ; and in the mean time Moore published a defence con- 
taining language, which the Assembly voted to be slanderous and insulting. 
It appeared in evidence, also, that William Smith, provost of the College, had 
been concerned in revising and correcting this piece before it was published. 
Smith was then arrested, and both he and Moore were imprisoned. The 
public was much agitated by the controversy. The governor took the part of 
the accused. Smith and Moore ultimately appealed to the King in Council, 
where it was decided that the Assembly had transcended their powers, and 
that their conduct was reprehensible. A summary of the case is contained in 
GORDON'S History of Pennsylvania, p. 352. S. 


the Law Opinion might necessarily appear where he would 
not care the Advice should be seen. I send you, also, a 
Copy of this, and should be glad of your Sentiments upon 
it. One thing, that he recommends to be done before we 
push our Points in Parliament, viz., removing the Prejudices, 
that Art and Accident have spread among the People 0} this 
Country against us, and obtaining jor us the good Opinion 
of the Bulk of Mankind without Doors. I hope we have 
in our power to do, by means of a Work now near ready for 
the Press, calculated to engage the Attention of many Readers, 
and at the same time efface the bad Impressions receiv'd 
of us : But it is thought best not to publish it, till a little 
before the next Session of Parliament. 1 

The Proprietors are determined to discard their present 
Governor, as soon as they can find a Successor to their Mind. 
They have lately offer'd the Governm 1 to one Mr. Graves, 
a Gentleman of the Temple, who has for some time had it 
under Consideration, and makes a Difficulty of accepting 
it: The Beginning of the Week it was thought he would 
accept; but on Thursday Night I was told he had resolved 
to refuse it. I know not, however, whether he may not yet 
be prevaiPd on. He has the character of a man of good 
Understanding, and good Dispositions. * 

1 The work here alluded to is undoubtedly the " Historical Review of the 
Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania." ED. 

2 The remainder of the letter is lost. 



London, June 17, 1758. 


In a former letter I mentioned the experiment for cooling 
bodies by evaporation, and that I had, by repeatedly wetting 
the thermometer with common spirits, brought the mercury 
down five or six degrees. Being lately at Cambridge, and 
mentioning this in conversation with Dr. Hadley, professor 
of chemistry there, he proposed repeating the experiments 
with ether, instead of common spirits, as the ether is much 
quicker in evaporation. We accordingly went to his chamber, 
where he had both ether and a thermometer. By dip- 
ping first the ball of the thermometer into the ether, it ap- 
peared that the ether was precisely of the same temperament 
with the thermometer, which stood then at 65; for it made 
no alteration in the height of the little column of mercury. 
But when the thermometer was taken out of the ether, and 
the ether, with which the ball was wet, began to evaporate, 
the mercury sunk several degrees. The wetting was then 
repeated by a feather that had been dipped into the ether, 
when the mercury sunk still lower. 

We continued this operation, one of us wetting the ball, 
and another of the company blowing on it with the bellows, 
to quicken the evaporation, the mercury sinking all the time, 
till it came down to 7, which is 25 degrees below the freez- 
ing point, when we left off. Soon after it passed the 
freezing point, a thin coat of ice began to cover the ball. 

1 From " Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1 769, 
P-' 363- 

1758] TO JOHN LINING 447 

Whether this was water collected and condensed by the cold- 
ness of the ball, from the moisture in the air, or from our 
breath ; or whether the feather, when dipped into the ether, 
might not sometimes go through it, and bring up some of 
the water that was under it, I am not certain; perhaps all 
might contribute. The ice continued increasing till we ended 
the experiment, when it appeared near a quarter of an inch 
thick all over the ball, with a number of small spicula, 
pointing outwards. From this experiment one may see the 
possibility of freezing a man to death on a warm summer's 
day, if he were to stand in a passage through which the wind 
blew briskly, and to be wet frequently with ether, a spirit 
that is more inflammable than brandy, or common spirits 
of wine. 

It is but within these few years, that the European philoso- 
phers seem to have known this power in nature, of cooling 
bodies by evaporation. But in the east they have long been 
acquainted with it. A friend tells me, there is a passage 
in Bernier's Travels through Indostan, written near one 
hundred years ago, that mentions it as a practice (in travel- 
ing over dry desarts in that hot climate) to carry water in 
flasks wrapt in wet woollen cloths, and hung on the shady 
side of the camel, or carriage, but in the free air; whereby, 
as the cloths gradually grow drier, the water contained in the 
flasks is made cool. They have likewise a kind of earthen 
pots, unglaz'd, which let the water gradually and slowly 
ooze through their pores, so as to keep the outside a little 
wet, notwithstanding the continual evaporation, which gives 
great coldness to the vessel, and the water contained in it. 
Even our common sailors seem to have had some notion of 
this property; for I remember, that being at sea, when I 


was a youth, I observed one of the sailors, during a calm in 
the night, often wetting his finger in his mouth, and then 
holding it up in the air, to discover, as he said, if the air had 
any motion, and from which side it came; and this he ex- 
pected to do, by finding one side of his finger grow suddenly 
cold, and from that side he should look for the next wind; 
which I then laughed at as a fancy. 

May not several phaenomena, hitherto unconsidered, or 
unaccounted for, be explained by this property? During 
the hot Sunday at Philadelphia, in June 1750, when the 
thermometer was up at 100 in the shade, I sat in my chamber 
without exercise, only reading or writing, with no other 
cloaths on than a shirt, and a pair of long linen drawers, 
the windows all open, and a brisk wind blowing through the 
house; the sweat ran off the backs of my hands, and my 
shirt was often so wet, as to induce me to call for dry ones 
to put on. In this situation, one might have expected, that 
the natural heat of the body 96, added to the heat of the air 
100, should jointly have created or produced a much greater 
degree of heat in the body; but the fact was, that my body 
never grew so hot as the air that surrounded it, or the inani- 
mate bodies immersed in the same air. For I remember 
well, that the desk, when I laid my arm upon it; a chair, 
when I sat down in it; and a dry shirt out of the drawer, 
when I put it on, all felt exceeding warm to me, as if they 
had been warmed before a fire. And I suppose a dead body 
would have acquired the temperature of the air, though a 
living one, by continual sweating, and by the evaporation 
of that sweat, was kept cold. 

May not this be a reason why our reapers in Pensylvania, 
working in the open field in the clear hot sunshine common 

1758] TO JOHN LINING 449 

in our harvest-time, 1 find themselves well able to go through 
that labour, without being much incommoded by the heat, 
while they continue to sweat, and while they supply matter 
for keeping up that sweat, by drinking frequently of a thin 
evaporable liquor, water mixed with rum; but, if the sweat 
stops, they drop, and sometimes die suddenly, if a sweating 
is not again brought on by drinking that liquor, or, as some 
rather chuse in that case, a kind of hot punch, made with 
water, mixed with honey, and a considerable proportion of 
vinegar ? May there not be in negroes a quicker evaporation 
of the perspirable matter from their skins and lungs, which, 
by cooling them more, enables them to bear the sun's heat 
better than whites do? (if that is a fact, as it is said to be; 
for the alledg'd necessity of having negroes rather than whites, 
to work in the West India fields, is founded upon it) though 
the colour of their skins would otherwise make them more 
sensible of the sun's heat, since black cloth heats much 
sooner, and more, in the sun, than white cloth. I am per- 
suaded, from several instances happening within my knowl- 
edge, that they do not bear cold weather so well as the whites ; 
they will perish when exposed to a less degree of it, and are 
more apt to have their limbs frost-bitten ; and may not this 
be from the same cause? 

Would not the earth grow much hotter under the sum- 
mer sun, if a constant evaporation from its surface, greater 
as the sun shines stronger, did not, by tending to cool it, 
balance, in some degree, the warmer effects of the sun's 
rays? Is it not owing to the constant evaporation from the 

1 Pennsylvania is in about lat. 40, and the sun, of course, about 12 degrees 
higher, and therefore much hotter, than in England. Their harvest is about the 
end of/une, or beginning of July, when the sun is nearly at the highest. F. 



surface of every leaf, that trees, though shone on by the sun, 
are always, even the leaves themselves, cool to our sense? 
at least, much cooler than they would otherwise be? May 
it not be owing to this, that fanning ourselves when warm, 
does really cool us, though the air is itself warm that we 
drive with the fan upon our faces? For the atmosphere 
round, and next to our bodies, having imbibed as much of 
the perspired vapour as it can well contain, receives no 
more, and the evaporation is therefore checked and retarded, 
till we drive away that atmosphere, and bring dryer air in 
its place, that will receive the vapour, and thereby facilitate 
and increase the evaporation ? Certain it is, that mere blow- 
ing of air on a dry body does not cool it, as any one may sat- 
isfy himself, by blowing with a bellows on the dry ball of 
a thermometer ; the mercury will not fall ; if it moves at all, 
it rather rises, as being warmed by the friction of the air 
on its surface. 

To these queries of imagination, I will only add one prac- 
tical observation; that wherever it is thought proper to 
give ease, in cases of painful inflammation in the flesh (as 
from burnings, or the like), by cooling the part ; linen cloths 
wet with spirit, and applied to the part inflamed, will pro- 
duce the coolness required, better than if wet with water, 
and will continue it longer. For water, though cold when 
first applied, will soon acquire warmth from the flesh, as it 
does not evaporate fast enough; but the cloths wet with 
spirit, will continue cold as long as any spirit is left to keep 
up the evaporation, the parts warmed escaping as soon as 
they are warmed, and carrying off the heat with them. 

I am, Sir, &c. 




London, September 6, 1758. 


In mine of June loth, by the Mercury, Captain Robin- 
son, I mentioned our having been at Cambridge. We 
stayed there a week, being entertained with great kindness 
by the principal people, and shown all the curiosities of 
the place; and, returning by another road to see more of 
the country, we came again to London. I found the journey 
advantageous to my health, increasing both my health and 
spirits, and therefore, as all the great folks were out of town, 
and public business at a stand, I the more easily prevailed 
with myself to take another journey, and accept of the invita- 
tion we had, to be again at Cambridge at the Commence- 
ment, the beginning of July. We went accordingly, were 
present at all the ceremonies, dined every day in their halls, 
and my vanity was not a little gratified by the particular 
regard shown me by the chancellor and vice-chancellor of 
the University, and the heads of colleges. 

After the Commencement, we went from Cambridge 
through Huntingdonshire into Northumberlandshire, and 
at Wellingborough, on inquiry, we found still living Mary 
Fisher, whose maiden name was Franklin, daughter and 
only child of Thomas Franklin, my father's eldest brother. 
She is five years older than sister Dowse, and remembers 
her going away with my father and his then wife, and two 
other children to New England, about the year 1685. We 

1 First printed in "The Works of Dr. Benjamin Franklin" (Duane), 
Philadelphia, 1817, Vol. VI, p. 36. ED. 


have had no correspondence with her since my uncle Benja- 
min's death, now near thirty years. I knew she had lived 
at Wellingborough, and had married there to one Mr. Rich- 
ard Fisher, a grazier and tanner, about fifty years ago, 
but did not expect to see either of them alive, so inquired 
for their posterity. I was directed to their house, and we 
found them both alive, but weak with age, very glad how- 
ever to see us. She seems to have been a very smart, sensi- 
ble woman. They are wealthy, have left off business, and 
live comfortably. They have had only one child, a daughter, 
who died, when about thirty years of age, unmarried. She 
gave me several of my uncle Benjamin's letters to her, and 
acquainted me where the other remains of the family lived, 
of which I have, since my return to London, found out a 
daughter of my father's only sister, very old, and never mar- 
ried. She is a good, clever woman, but poor, though vastly 
contented with her situation, and very cheerful. The others 
are in different parts of the country. I intend to visit them, 
but they were too much out of our tour in that journey. 

From Wellingborough we went to Ecton, about three or 
four miles, being the village where my father was born, and 
where his father, grandfather, and greatgrandfather had 
lived, and how many of the family before them we know not. 
We went first to see the old house and grounds; they came 
to Mr. Fisher with his wife, and, after letting them for some 
years, finding his rent something ill paid, he sold them. The 
land is now added to another farm, and a school kept in the 
house. It is a decayed old stone building, but still known 
by the name of Franklin House. Thence we went to visit 
the rector of the parish, who lives close by the church, a 
very ancient building. He entertained us very kindly, and 


showed us the old church register, in which were the births, 
marriages, and burials of our ancestors for two hundred 
years, as early as his book began. His wife, a goodnatured, 
chatty old lady, (granddaughter of the famous Archdeacon 
Palmer, who formerly had that parish, and lived there,) 
remembered a great deal about the family; carried us out 
into the churchyard, and showed us several of their grave- 
stones, which were so covered with moss, that we could not 
read the letters, till she ordered a hard brush and basin of 
water, with which Peter scoured them clean, and then 
Billy copied them. She entertained and diverted us highly 
with stories of Thomas Franklin, Mrs. Fisher's father, who 
was a conveyancer, something of a lawyer, clerk of the county 
courts, and clerk to the Archdeacon in his visitations; a 
very leading man in all county affairs, and much employed 
in public business. He set on foot a subscription for erecting 
chimes in their steeple, and completed it, and we heard them 
play. He found out an easy method of saving their village 
meadows from being drowned, as they used to be sometimes 
by the river, which method is still in being; but, when first 
proposed, nobody could conceive how it could be; "but 
however," they said, "if Franklin says he knows how to 
do it, it will be done." His advice and opinion were sought 
for on all occasions, by all sorts of people, and he was looked 
upon, she said, by some, as something of a conjuror. He 
died just four years before I was born, on the same day of 
the same month. 

Since our return to London, I have had a kind letter from 
cousin Fisher, and another from the rector, which I send you. 

From Ecton we went to Northampton, where we stayed 
part of the day ; then went to Coventry, and from thence to 


Birmingham. Here, upon inquiry, we soon found out 
yours, and cousin Wilkinson's, and cousin Cash's relations. 
First, we found out one of the Cashes, and he went with us 
to Rebecca Flint's, where we saw her and her husband. 
She is a turner and he a buttonmaker; they have no chil- 
dren; were very glad to see any person that knew their 
sister Wilkinson; told us what letters they had received, 
and showed us some of them ; and even showed us that they 
had, out of respect, preserved a keg, in which they had 
received a present of some sturgeon. They sent for their 
brother, Joshua North, who came with his wife immediately 
to see us; he is a turner also, and has six children, a lively, 
active man. Mrs. Flint desired me to tell her sister, that 
they live still in the old house she left them in, which I think 
she says was their father's. From thence Mr. North went 
with us to your cousin Benjamin's. l 

269. TO ISAAC NORRIS ' (L. c.) 

London, Sept. 16. 1758 

Baskerville is printing Newton's Milton in two Volumes, 
8vo. I have inserted your Name in his List of Subscribers, 
as you mention your Inclination to encourage so deserving 
an Artist. 

1 The remainder of this letter is missing. ED. 

2 This letter in the Stevens Collection (L. C.) does not contain the name 
of the person to whom it was addressed. It has sometimes been supposed 
that it was sent to James Logan. Isaac Norris is the only Philadelphian 
whose name appears in the list of subscribers to Baskerville's Milton. To 
Norris a telescope was sent by Franklin. All the internal evidence therefore 
points to Norris. ED. 

1758] TO ISAAC NORRIS 455 

It is certain that the Government here are inclined to 
resume all the Proprietary Powers, and I make no doubt 
but upon the first Handle they will do so. I only think they 
wish for some Advantage against the People's Privileges as 
well as the Proprietary Powers. I believe a Petition from 
either of the Assemblies, expressing their Dislike to the 
Proprietary Government, & praying the Crown to take the 
Province under its immediate Government & Protection, 
would be even now very favourably heard. Tumults and 
Insurrections, that might prove the Proprietary Govern- 
ment insufficient to preserve Order, or show the People to 
be ungovernable, would do the Business immediately; but 
such I hope will never happen. I know not but a Refusal 
of the Assembly to lay Taxes, or of the People to pay them, 
unless the Proprietary Estate be taxed, would be Sufficient: 
But this would be extreamly improper before it is known 
whether Redress may not be obtained on Application here. 
I should be glad to know your Sentiments on the Point of 
getting rid of the Proprietary Government, &* whether you 
think it would be generally agreable to the People. 

I was much concern'd to hear of your Indisposition, and 
for the Occasion of it. They have certainly made some 
Mistake about the Books, and sent you a Box or two that 
were not of the Parcel & not intended to be seni you. 
Osborne teazes one to have the Account closed, but let not 
that induce you to run the like Hazard, or fatigue yourself 
to the Prejudice of your Health, which I hope you have long 
before this time perfectly recovered. 

Your Telescope is at length finished, and I shall have it 
sent in a few Days, tho' I doubt too late to be sent per this 
Ship. I would willingly have it examined too per Mr. Short, 


a Friend of mine, & the great Optician here, before I Ship 
it. I shall send it with your Brothers Books & yours, on 
Gardening &c. per next Ship, perhaps per Bolitho. 

The Defence made by the Council of the Indian Walk 
Purchase seems to me a miserable one I observe the Sec- 
retary's Prevarication about his Discourse at Easton, &c. 
How comes the Report to be sign'd only by L. Lardner? 

Endorsed : 

London Sept r i6 th 1758. Benj a franklin 
Separate Notes reed Jan" 3 " 1759 

The Ministry would chearfully join in Resuming the Gov- 
ernment on an Applicat n from the Assembly or &c. 


London, September 16, 1758. 


Your kind letter of June ist gave me great pleasure. I 
thank you for the concern you express about my health, 
which at present seems tolerably confirmed by my late jour- 
ney into different parts of the kingdom, that have been 
highly entertaining as well as useful to me. Your visits to 
my little family in my absence are very obliging, and I hope 
you will be so good as to continue them. Your remark on 
the thistle and the Scotch motto made us very merry, as well 
as your string of puns. You will allow me to claim a little 
merit or demerit in the last, as having had some hand in 
making you a punster; but the wit of the first is keen, and 
all your own. 

Two of the former members of the Junto you tell me are 

1 First published by Sparks. 

1758] TO HUGH ROBERTS 457 

departed this life, Potts and Parsons. Odd characters both 
of them. Parsons a wise man, that often acted foolishly; 
Potts a wit, that seldom acted wisely. If enough were the 
means to make a man happy, one had always the means of 
happiness, without ever enjoying the thing; the other had 
always the thing, without ever possessing the means. Par- 
sons, even in his prosperity, always fretting; Potts, in the 
midst of his poverty, ever laughing. It seems, then, that 
happiness in this life rather depends on internals than ex- 
ternals ; and that, besides the natural effects of wisdom and 
virtue, vice and folly, there is such a thing as a happy or an 
unhappy constitution. They were both our friends, and 
loved us. So, peace to their shades. They had their virtues 
as well as their foibles; they were both honest men, and 
that alone, as the world goes, is one of the greatest of char- 
acters. They were old acquaintances, in whose company 
I formerly enjoyed a great deal of pleasure, and I cannot 
think of losing them, without concern and regret. 

I shall, as you suppose, look on every opportunity you 
give me of doing you service, as a favour, because it will afford 
me pleasure. I know how to make you ample returns for 
such favours, by giving you the pleasure of building me a 
house. You may do it without losing any of your own time ; 
it will only take some part of that you now spend in other 
folks' business. It is only jumping out of their waters into 

I am grieved for our friend Syng's loss. You and I, who 
esteem him, and have valuable sons ourselves, can sympa- 
thize with him sincerely. I hope yours is perfectly recovered, 
for your sake as well as for his own. I wish he may be, in 
every respect, as good and as useful as his father. I need 


not wish him more; and can only add, that I am, with 
great esteem, dear friend, yours affectionately, 


P. S. I rejoice to hear of the prosperity of the Hospital, 
and send the wafers. I do not quite like your absenting 
yourself from that good old club, the Junto. Your more 
frequent presence might be a means of keeping them from 
being all engaged in measures not the best for public welfare. 
I exhort you, therefore, to return to your duty; and, as the 
Indians say, to confirm my words, I send you a Birmingham 
tile. I thought the neatness of the figures would please you. 

DEAR SISTER, London, September 16, 1758. 

I received your favour of June 17. I wonder you have 
had no letter from me since my being in England. I have 
wrote you at least two, and I think a third before this, and 
what was next to waiting on you in person, sent you my 
picture. In June last I sent Benny a trunk of books, and 
wrote to him; I hope they are come to hand, and that he 
meets with encouragement in his business. I congratulate 
you on the conquest of Cape Breton, and hope as your people 
took it by praying, the first time, you will now pray that it 
may never be given up again, which you then forgot. Billy 
is well, but in the country. I left him at Tunbridge Wells, 
where we spent a fortnight, and he is now gone with some 
company to see Portsmouth. We have been together over 
a great part of England this summer, and among other 

, l From "The Works of Dr. Benjamin Franklin" (Duane), Philadelphia, 
1817, Vol. VI, p. 39. ED. 

1758] TO MRS. JANE MECOM 459 

places, visited the town our father was born in, and found 
some relations in that part of the country still living. 

Our cousin Jane Franklin, daughter of our uncle John, 
died about a year ago. We saw her husband, Robert Page, 
who gave us some old letters to his wife, from uncle Benjamin. 
In one of them, dated Boston, July 4, 1723, he writes that 
your uncle Josiah has a daughter Jane, about twelve years 
old, a good-humoured child. So keep up to your character, 
and don't be angry when you have no letters. In a little 
book he sent her, called "None but Christ," he wrote an 
acrostick on her name, which for namesake's sake, as well 
as the good advice it contains, I transcribe and send you, viz. 

" Illuminated from on high, 
And shining brightly in your sphere, 
Ne'er feint, but keep a steady eye, 
Expecting endless pleasures there. 

Flee vice as you'd a serpent flee ; 
Raise faith and hope three stories higher, 
And let Christ's endless love to thee 
Ne'er cease to make thy love aspire. 
Kindness of heart by words express, 
Let your obedience be sincere, 
In prayer and praise your God address, 
Nor cease, till he can cease to hear." 

After professing truly that I had a great esteem and venera- 
tion for the pious author, permit me a little to play the 
commentator and critic on these lines. The meaning of 
three stories higher seems somewhat obscure. You are to 
understand, then, that jaith, hope, and charity have been 
called the three steps of Jacob's ladder, reaching from earth 
to heaven; our author calls them stories, likening religion 
to a building, and these are the three stories of the Christian 


edifice. Thus improvement in religion is called 'building 
up and edification. Faith is then the ground floor, hope is 
up one pair of stairs. My dear beloved Jenny, don't delight 
so much to dwell in those lower rooms, but get as fast as you 
can into the garret, for in truth the best room in the house 
is charity. For my part, I wish the house was turned upside 
down; 'tis so difficult (when one is fat) to go up stairs; 
and not only so, but I imagine hope and faith may be more 
firmly built upon charity, than charity upon faith and hope. 
However that may be, I think it the better reading to say 

" Raise faith and hope one story higher." 

Correct it boldly, and I'll support the alteration ; for, when 
you are up two stories already, if you raise your building 
three stories higher you will make five in all, which is two 
more than there should be, you expose your upper rooms 
more to the winds and storms; and, besides, I am afraid 
the foundation will hardly bear them, unless indeed you build 
with such light stuff as straw and stubble, and that, you 
know, won't stand fire. Again, where the author says, 

" Kindness of heart by words express," 

strike out words, and put in deeds. The world is too full of 
compliments already. They are the rank growth of every 
soil, and choak the good plants of benevolence, and benefi- 
cence ; nor do I pretend to be the first in this comparison of 
words and actions to plants; you may remember an ancient 
poet, whose works we have all studied and copied at school 

long ago. 

" A man of words and not of deeds 
Is like a garden full of weeds." 

'Tis a pity that good works, among some sorts of people, 
are so little valued, and good words admired in their stead : 

1 758] TO JAMES BOWDOIN 461 

I mean seemingly pious discourses, instead of humane benev- 
olent actions. Those they almost put out of countenance, 
by calling morality rotten morality, righteousness ragged 
righteousness, and even filthy rags and when you men- 
tion virtue, pucker up their noses as if they smelt a stink ; 
at the same time that they eagerly snuff up an empty cant- 
ing harangue, as if it was a posey of the choicest flowers : 
So they have inverted the good old verse, and say now 

" A man of deeds and not of words 
Is like a garden full of " 

I have forgot the rhyme, but remember 'tis something the 
very reverse of perfume. So much by way of commentary. 
My wife will let you see my letter, containing an account 
of our travels, which I would have you read to sister Dowse, 
and give my love to her. I have no thoughts of returning 
till next year, and then may possibly have the pleasure of 
seeing you and yours ; taking Boston in my way home. My 
love to brother and all your children, concludes at this time 
from, dear Jenny, your affectionate brother, 



London, Dec. 2, 1758. 


I have executed here an easy, simple contrivance, that I 
have long since had in speculation, for keeping rooms warmer 

1 Published in 1786 in connection with a letter to Dr. Ingenhousz in 
reference to smoky chimneys, in " Transactions of The American Philosophical 
Society" (1786). Published as a separate work: "Observations on the 
Causes and Cure of Smoky Chimneys," Philadelphia, 1787. ED. 


in cold weather than they generally are, and with less fire. 
It is this: The opening of the chimney is contracted by 
brick work faced with marble slabs, to about two feet between 
the jams, and the breast brought down to within about 
three feet of the hearth. An iron frame is placed just under 
the breast, and extending quite to the back of the chimney, so 
that a plate of the same metal may slide horizontally back- 
wards and forwards in the grooves on each side of the frame. 
This plate is just so large as to fill the whole space, and shut 
the chimney entirely when thrust quite in, which is conven- 
ient when there is no fire. Drawing it out, so as to leave a 
space between its further edge and the back, of about two 
inches ; this space is sufficient for the smoke to pass ; and so 
large a part of the funnel being stopped by the rest of the 
plate, the passage of warm air out of the room, up the chim- 
ney, is obstructed and retarded, and by that means much 
cold air is prevented from coming in through crevices, to 
supply its place. 

This effect is made manifest three ways. First, when 
the fire burns briskly in cold weather, the howling or whis- 
tling noise made by the wind, as it enters the room through 
the crevices, when the chimney is open as usual, ceases as 
soon as the plate is slid in to its proper distance. Secondly, 
opening the door of the room about half an inch, and hold- 
ing your hand against the opening near the top of the door, 
you feel the cold air coming in against your hand, but weakly, 
if the plate be in. Let another person suddenly draw it out, 
so as to let the air of the room go up the chimney, with its 
usual freedom where chimneys are open, and you immedi- 
ately feel the cold air rushing in strongly. Thirdly, if some- 
thing be set against the door, just sufficient, when the plate 


is in, to keep the door nearly shut, by resisting the pressure 
of the air that would force it open; then, when the plate is 
drawn out, the door will be forced open by the increased 
pressure of the outward cold air endeavouring to get in to 
supply the place of the warm air that now passes out of the 
room to go up the chimney. In our common open chimneys, 
half the fuel is wasted, and its effect lost, the air it has 
warmed being immediately drawn off. Several of my ac- 
quaintance, having seen this simple machine in my room, 
have imitated it in their own houses, and it seems likely to 
become pretty common. I describe it thus particularly 
to you, because I think it would be useful in Boston, where 
firing is often dear. 

Mentioning chimneys puts me in mind of a property I 
formerly had occasion to observe in them, which I have not 
found taken notice of by others: it is, that in the summer 
time, when no fire is made in the chimneys, there is never- 
theless, a regular draft of air through them ; continually pass- 
ing upwards, from about five or six o'clock in the afternoon, 
till eight or nine o'clock the next morning, when the current 
begins to slacken and hesitate a little, for about half an hour, 
and then sets as strongly down again, which it continues to 
do till towards five in the afternoon, then slackens and hesi- 
tates as before, going sometimes a little up, then a little down, 
till in about a half an hour, it gets into a steady upward cur- 
rent for the night, which continues till eight or nine the next 
day; the hours varying a little as the days lengthen and shorten, 
and sometimes varying from sudden changes in the weather; 
as if, after being long warm, it should begin to grow cool 
about noon, while the air was coming down the chimney, the 
current will then change earlier than the usual hour, &c. 


This property in chimneys I imagine we might turn to 
some account, and render improper, for the future, the old 
saying, as useless as a chimney in summer. If the opening 
of the chimney, from the breast down to the hearth, be 
closed by a slight moveable frame or two, in the manner of 
doors covered with canvas, that will let the air through, but 
keep out the flies ; and another little frame set within upon 
the hearth, with hooks on which to hang joints of meat, 
fowls, &c. wrapt well in wet linen cloths, three or four fold, 
I am confident, that if the linen is kept wet by sprinkling 
it once a day, the meat would be so cooled by the evapora- 
tion, carried on continually by means of the passing air, that 
it would keep a week or more in the hottest weather. Butter 
and milk might likewise be kept cool, in vessels or bottles 
covered with wet cloths. A shallow tray, or keeler, should 
be under the frame, to receive any water that might drip 
from the wetted cloths. I think, too, that this property of 
chimneys might, by means of smoke jack vanes, be applied 
to some mechanical purposes, where a small but pretty 
constant power only is wanted. 

If you would have my opinion of the cause of this chang- 
ing current of air in chimneys, it is, in short, as follows : In 
summer time there is generally a great difference in the 
warmth of the air at midday and midnight, and of course 
a difference of specific gravity in the air, as the more it is 
warmed, the more it is rarefied. The funnel of a chimney 
being for the most part surrounded by the house, is pro- 
tected, in a great measure, from the direct action of the sun's 
rays, and also from the coldness of the night air. It thence 
preserves a middle temperature between the heat of the day, 
and the coldness of the night. This middle temperature it 


communicates to the air contained in it. If the state of 
the outward air be cooler than that in the funnel of the 
chimney, it will, by being heavier, force it to rise, and go out 
at the top. What supplies its place from below, being 
warmed, in its turn, by the warmer funnel, is likewise forced 
up by the colder and weightier air below ; and so the current 
is continued till the next day, when the sun gradually changes 
the state of the outward air, makes it first as warm as the 
funnel of the chimney can make it (when the current begins 
to hesitate), and afterwards warmer. Then the funnel being 
cooler than the air that comes into it, cools that air, makes 
it heavier than the outward air, of course it descends; and 
what succeeds it from above, being cooled in its turn, the 
descending current continues till towards the evening, when 
it again hesitates, and changes its course, from the change of 
warmth in the outward air, and the nearly remaining same 
middle temperature in the funnel. 

Upon this principle, if a house were built behind Beacon 
Hill, an adit carried from one of the doors into the hill hori- 
zontally, till it met with a perpendicular shaft sunk from 
its top, it seems probable to me, that those who lived in the 
house, would constantly, in the heat even of the calmest day, 
have as much cool air passing through the house, as they 
should choose ; and the same, though reversed in its current, 
during the stillest night. 

I think, too, this property might be made of use to miners ; 
as where several shafts or pits are sunk perpendicularly 
into the earth, communicating at bottom by horizontal 
passages, which is a common case, if a chimney of thirty or 
forty feet high were built over one of the shafts, or so near 
the shaft, that the chimney might communicate with the 

VOL. Ill 2 H 


top of the shaft, all air being excluded but what should pass 
up or down by the shaft, a constant change of air would, 
by this means, be produced in the passages below, tending 
to secure the workmen from those damps, which so frequently 
incommode them. For the fresh air would be almost always 
going down the open shaft, to go up the chimney, or down 
the chimney, to go up the shaft. Let me add one observa- 
tion more, which is, that, if that part of the funnel of a chim- 
ney, which appears above the roof of a house, be pretty 
long, and have three of its sides exposed to the heat of the 
sun successively, viz. when he is in the east, in the south, 
and in the west, while the north side is sheltered by the 
building from the cool northerly winds; such a chimney 
will often be so heated by the sun, as to continue the draft 
strongly upwards, through the whole twenty-four hours, 
and often for many days together. If the outside of such 
a chimney be painted black, the effect will be still greater, 
and the current stronger. 

It is said the northern Chinese have a method of warming 
their ground floors, which is ingenious. Those floors are 
made of tiles a foot square and two inches thick, their corners 
being supported by bricks set on end, that are a foot long 
and four inches square; the tiles too join into each other, 
by ridges and hollows along their sides. This forms a hol- 
low under the whole floor, which on one side of the house 
has an opening into the air, where a fire is made, and it has 
a funnel rising from the other side to carry off the smoke. 
The fuel is a sulphurous pitcoal, the smell of which in the 
room is thus avoided, while the floor, and of course the 
room is well warmed. But as the underside of the floor 
must grow foul with soot, and a thick coat of soot prevents 


much of the direct application of the hot air to the tiles, I 
conceive that burning the smoke, by obliging it to descend 
through red coals, would in this construction be very advan- 
tageous, as more heat would be given by the flame than by 
the smoke, and the floor being thereby kept free from soot, 
would be more heated with less fire. For this purpose, I 
would propose erecting the funnel close to the grate, so as 
to have only an iron plate between the fire and the funnel ; 
through which plate the air in the funnel being heated, it 
will be sure to draw well, and force the smoke to descend, 
as in Plate XIV. Fig. 9, where A is the funnel or chimney, 
B the grate on which the fire is placed, C one of the apertures 
through which the descending smoke is drawn into the channel 
D of Fig. 10, along which channel it is conveyed by a cir- 
cuitous route, as designated by the arrows, until it arrives 
at the small aperture E, Fig. 10 through which it enters the 
funnel F. G, in both Figures, is the iron plate against which 
the fire is made, which being heated thereby, will rarefy the 
air in that part of the funnel, and cause the smoke to ascend 
rapidly. The flame, thus dividing from the grate to the 
right and left, and turning in passages, disposed, as in Fig. 
10, so as that every part of the floor may be visited by it 
before it enters the funnel F, by the two passages E E, very 
little of the heat will be lost, and a winter room thus rendered 
very comfortable. 1 

Page 513. Few can imagine, &c. It is said the Iceland- 
ers have very little fuel, chiefly drift wood that comes upon 
their coast. To receive more advantage from its heat, 
they make their doors low, and have a stage round the room 
above the door, like a gallery, wherein the women can sit 

1 For the Plates, see Letter to Ingenhousz, Aug. 28, 1785. ED. 


and work, the men read or write, &c. The roof being 
tight, the warm air is confined by it and kept from rising 
higher and escaping; and the cold air, which enters the 
house when the door is opened, cannot rise above the level 
of the top of the door, because it is heavier than the warm 
air above the door, and so those in the gallery are not in- 
commoded by it. Some of our too lofty rooms might have 
a stage so constructed as to make a temporary gallery above, 
for the winter, to be taken away in summer. Sedentary 
people would find much comfort there in cold weather. 

Page 532. Where they have the art of managing it, &c. 
In some houses of the lower people among the northern 
nations of Europe, and among the poorer sort of Germans 
in Pennsilvania, I have observed this construction, which 
appears very advantageous: (Plate, Fig. u.) A is the 
kitchen with its chimney; J5, an iron stove in the stove 
room. In a corner of the chimney is a hole through the back 
into the stove, to put in fuel, and another hole above it to 
let the smoke of the stove come back into the chimney. 
As soon as the cooking is over, the brands in the kitchen 
chimney are put through the hole to supply the stove, so 
that there is seldom more than one fire burning at a time. 
In the floor over the stove room is a small trap door, to let 
the warm air rise occasionally into the chamber. Thus the 
whole house is warmed at little expence of wood, and the 
stove room kept constantly warm; so that in the coldest 
winter nights, they can work late, and find the room still 
comfortable when they rise to work early. An English 
farmer in America, who makes great fires in large open 
chimneys, needs the constant employment of one man to 
cut and haul wood for supplying them; and the draft of 

1758] TO JAMES BOWDO1N 469 

cold air to them is so strong, that the heels of his family are 
frozen, while they are scorching their faces, and the room 
is never warm, so that little sedentary work can be done by 
them in winter. The difference in this article alone of 
economy shall, in a course of years, enable the German to 
buy out the Englishman, and take possession of his plan- 

Miscellaneous Observations. 

Chimneys, whose funnels go up in the north wall of a 
house, and are exposed to the north winds, are not so apt 
to draw well as those in a south wall ; because, when rendered 
cold by those winds, they draw downwards. 

Chimneys, enclosed in the body of a house, are better than 
those whose funnels are exposed in cold walls. 

Chimneys in stacks are apt to draw better than separate 
funnels; because the funnels, that have constant fires in 
them, warm the others in some degree that have none. 

One of the funnels in a house I once occupied, had a 
particular funnel joined to the south side of the stack, so that 
three of its sides were exposed to the sun in the course of 
the day, viz. (Plate, Fig. 12,) the east side E during the 
morning, the south side S in the middle part of the day, 
and the west side W during the afternoon; while its north 
side was sheltered by the stack from the cold winds. This 
funnel, which came from the ground floor, and had a con- 
siderable height above the roof, was constantly in a strong 
drawing state day and night, winter and summer. 

Blacking of funnels exposed to the sun, would probably 
make them draw still stronger. 

In Paris I saw a fireplace so ingeniously contrived as to 
serve conveniently two rooms, a bedchamber and a study. 


The funnel over the fire was round. The fireplace was of 
cast iron (Plate, Fig. 13,) having an upright back A, and 
two horizontal semicircular plates B C, the whole so ordered 
as to turn on the pivots D E. The plate B always stopped 
that part of the round funnel that was next to the room 
without fire, while the other half of the funnel over the fire 
was always open. By this means a servant in the morning 
could make a fire on the hearth C, then in the study, without 
disturbing the master by going into his chamber; and the 
master, when he rose, could, with a touch of his foot, turn 
the chimney on its pivots, and bring the fire into his cham- 
ber, keep it there as long as he wanted it, and turn it again, 
when he went out, into his study. The room which had no 
fire in it was also warmed by the heat coming through the 
back plate, and spreading in the room, as it could not go up 
the chimney. 


London, March 19, 1759 

I received your favour of Dec. n and Jan 17 19. by those 
Ships you will receive some of the printed Enquiries to 
which Post's first Journal is added, which being more 
generally interesting occasions the other to go into more 
Hands and be more read. Extracts of your and Mr 
Thomson's Letters are also added to make the Thing more 
compleat. M Hall has orders to deliver twenty five to you 

1 Israel Pemberton (1715-1779), one of the founders of the "Friendly 
Association for regaining and preserving Peace with the Indians by pacific 
Measures." The letter is in the Boston Public Library. ED. 


and M r Thomson ; and I hope you will promote the Sale of 
the rest, that the Charges of Printing etc. may be lessen'd. 

I congratulate you heartily on the Reestablishment of 
Peace on your Borders, in which the Endeavours of your 
Association have had so large a Share. I pray that it may 
long continue. But if we abandon Pittsburg at the Instances 
of the Indians, I think the French will not fail to return; 
the Indians are too much divided and irresolute to prevent 
them; and they will easily again be debauch'd from our 
Interest. I hope therefore that Place will be retain'd ; and at 
least a small Tract distinctly mark'd out round it, from which 
those who inhabit the Fort may raise their Provisions, but 
not suffered to extend Settlements beyond such Bounds as 
are agreed on ; till future Treaties shall make farther Agree- 
ments. A Hunting Country ought without doubt to be 
secur'd to our Friends; but a strong Place and a small 
Compact Settlement there of sober orderly people must, 
I think, in the nature of Things, contribute greatly to the 
Security of the Colonies ; by retaining the Friendship of the 
Indians thro' the Benefits of Trade and Neighborhood of 
Arts; and by bridling them if they are seduc'd by our ene- 
mies ; or at least standing in the Gap and bearing the Blows 
as a Shield to our other Frontiers. 

I have just received the Copy of Post's second Journal 
which will be of good use; and I am extremely obliged to 
you for your Care in sending Everything that is necessary 
to give us proper Information of the present State of Indian 

My Petition relating to Teedyuscung's Claims lay long 
in the Council Office before there was a Council to consider 
it. As soon as a Council met it was read and referr'd to 


the Board of Trade. As yet they have done nothing in it, 
but I understand they intend to appoint Commissioners 
out of the neighboring Provinces to make Enquiry, Examine 
Evidences and report what they can find to be the Truth 
of the Case. 

It is everywhere represented here by the Proprietor's 
Friends that this charge of the Indians against him, is a 
mere Calumny, stirr'd up by the Malice of the Quakers 
who cannot forgive his Deserting their Sect. I expected 
he would be imprudent enough to publish the Report of his 
Council in his Justification ; but I hear nothing of it and I 
suppose he does not quite like it. There are some shame- 
less Falshoods in it that are easily exposed. The Affi- 
davids mentioned in it are not come to hand ; I wish I could 
see them. I believe it will in time be clearly seen by all 
thinking People that the Government and Property of a 
Province should not be in the same Family. T'is too much 
weight in one Scale. I am of opinion the Crown would 
not be displeas'd with an Application to be taken under 
its immediate Government, and I think our Circumstances 
would be mended by it. 

My son joins in best Respects and Wishes for you and 
yours, with, dear Sir, 

Your affectionate Friend 

and humble Servant 


1759] TO DAVID HALL 473 


London, April 8. 1759. 


I have yours of Novf 20. Dec? 5 & 8. and JanT 18, with a 
Postscript of Feb. 5. Your prudent Conduct in my Ab- 
sence, with regard to the Parties, as well as in every other 
respect, gives me great Satisfaction. If I do not correspond 
so fully and punctually with you as you expected, consider 
the Situation and Business I am in, the Number of Corre- 
spondents I have to write to, the eternal Interruptions one 
meets with in this great City, the Visits one must necessarily 
receive and pay, the Entertainments or Amusements one is 
invited to and urg'd to partake of, besides the many Matters 
of Use and Importance worth a Stranger's while to enquire 
into who is soon to return to his own Country, and then if 
you make a little additional Allowance for the Indolence that 
naturally creeps upon us with Age, I think you will be more 
ready to excuse me. 

I was surpriz'd to hear that the new Fount of Bourgeois 
was not got to hand, as I found by my Accounts that I had 
got it ready and order 'd it to be shipt in September when 
I paid Caslon for it ; but on Enquiry I find it was not shipt 
till November and then on board the Rebeccah & Susannah, 
Cap* Nicholson; it was in two Boxes mark'd B F. No i, 2. 
I must have sent you both the Bills for Lading, as I have 
neither of them by me. I hope long before this time it is 
got safe to hand. If you think another Fount of Brevier 

1 From the original letter in the Museum of Independence Hall, Phila- 
delphia. ED. 


necessary besides this, let me know. I wish I had known 
sooner that you would have chosen Brevier rather than 

I congratulate you on the Success of our Forces and Fleet 
in driving the French from the Ohio, and establishing Peace 
with the Indians. I hope this year will finish our American 
War. The strong Fleet sent hence some time since for the 
Attempt on Quebec, is I imagine before now arriv'd on your 
Side; and the Troops embarking for that Service. God 
grant them Success, and deliver us for ever from those 
mischievous Neighbours. 

You may remember you were always complaining, and 
justly, of the bad Pay of our Subscribers on the Post Roads, 
and urging me to fall on some Method of remedying the 
Evil for the future. The Instruction relating to the Car- 
riage of Newspapers was form'd for that purpose; and I 
think must produce the Effect. Some good Paymasters 
may possibly at first take Offence and decline the Paper; 
but when they consider the Equity as well as Necessity of 
the Thing, their Disgust must in Time wear off, and they 
will return to us again. The greatest Part of those that 
drop, are such as would never pay, and whose Custom 
therefore is not worth keeping; or rather we may consider 
them as so many Benefactors, since they have remitted the 
expensive Tribute we us'd to pay 'em yearly in Paper and 
Printing. If we continue to print 18 Token and get paid 
for that Quantity, 'tis a very good Thing and we may be 
contented. But then the Instruction must be stuck to, and 
no Papers sent but what are engaged for, otherwise all is 
to no purpose; and I must leave it to you to contrive a 
better Method, having now done my best. 

1759] TO DAVID HALL 475 

You are in the right not to be uneasy at the Number of 
Printing Offices setting up in Philad? The Country is 
increasing and Business must increase with it. We are 
pretty well establish'd and shall probably with God's Bless- 
ings and a prudent Conduct always have our Share. The 
young ones will not be so likely to hurt us as one 

I much doubt whether I shall be able to send you Copy for 
the Almanack: I thought I should surely have sent it last 
Year, having collected many Materials which only wanted 
putting together, but Sickness at Times, other Business, 
and various Interruptions disappointed me. If you do not 
receive it by the Pacquet that sails from hence in May, 
shift without it one year more as you did very well last Year, 
and before another, I hope to be at home. 

Parson Smith has been applying to Osborne for a large 
Cargo of Books, acquainting him that he could be of vast 
Service in selling great Quantities for him, as there was 
only one Hall at Philad? who demanded excessive Prices; 
and if another Shop was but open'd where People could 
be supply'd reasonably, all the Custom would run to it. I 
know not whether he was to sell them himself or employ some 
other. He gave Osborne a Catalogue. Osborne came to 
me and ask'd me if I knew him, and that he should be safe 
in trusting him. I told him I believ'd my Townsmen who 
were Smith's Creditors would be glad to see him come back 
with a Cargo of any kind, as they might have some Chance 
of being paid out of it; And so I could not in Conscience 
dissuade him from trusting him. "Oh, says he, is that the 
Case ; then he shall have no Books of me I assure you : He 
persuaded me to trust him 10 's worth of Books, and take his 


Note payable in Six Months. But I will have the Money 
immediately or the Books again." 

As soon as I saw the three Third- Bills I found my Mistake. 
I had indeed received the N. 276, and enter' d it in my Bills 
delivered my Banker, but having Bills from Mr. Parker 
which I received and delivered at the same Time, when I 
came to look over my List I was deceived by the Date of that 
Bill, being at N. York, and suppos'd therefore that it had 
come from him, the Bill itself being out of my Hands, no 
other Copy arriving, which would have given me an Oppor- 
tunity of looking at the Indorsement. This was the Reason 
I did not give you Credit for it. I might have been set right 
if I had recurr'd to his and your Letters, but having no doubt 
I did not examine them. It was a Fault, and I am sorry it 
has given you so much Trouble. However, the Method 
I took of sending you a compleat and particular List of all 
the Bills I suppos'd I had received from you, has enabled 
you to take the Step that has clear'd up the Difficulty effec- 
tually, by sending me those Three-Thirds as aforesaid. 

I have received your Bill drawn by James Pemberton on 
D. Barclay & Son for 100 . and since that, another of John 
Hunter on Mess" Thomlinson &c. No 290, for 100 
also. I must repeat my Thanks for your careful and regu- 
lar Remittances. 

There is all Appearance that the ensuing Campaign will 
be a bloody one. The Powers at War on the Continent 
have exerted themselves to the utmost this Winter, to be able 
to bring vast Armies into the Field, and they are already 
in Motion. If the King of Prussia can stand his Ground 
this Year, 'tis thought his Enemies will be tired of so costly 
a War. And he bids fair for it, for he takes the Field this 

1759] T0 DAVID HALL 477 

Spring with as fine an Army as he had since the War began, 
and hitherto he has very little burthen'd his own People 
for Supplies either of Money or Men, drawing both from his 
Enemies or Neighbours. But what the Event will be God 
only knows. Three great Monarchys the most powerful 
in Europe besides the Swedes, all on his Back at once! 
No Magnamity (sic) but his own could think of bearing it; 
no Courage but his that would not sink under it, nor any less 
Bravery, Skill and Activity than his that would be equal to it. 
If he again should drub them all round, and at length obtain 
an honourable and advantageous Peace, his Renown will 
far exceed that of all the Heroes in History. 

I am glad to hear Cousin Molly is better. I hope her 
Health will be fully restored. My Love to her and the 
Children; in which & Compliments to all Friends Billy 
joins with 

Your affectionate Friend 

& humble Servant 


P. S. Send me the Notes, Treaties and other public 
Things as you print them, for thro* waiting for the Seal and 
other Causes, I am often long without them. I wish you 
would also send me all Party Papers, or of a publick Nature, 
tho' printed by others. I am often the last that sees such 
Things, and obliged to other People here for the Favour. 
Send me also 2 of Mr. Scull's new Maps of the improved 
Part of Pensylvania. April 9. Since writing the above, I 
have received yours of Feb* 27 per Fingloss with a Bill 
for 100 for which have given you Credit ; and as to the 
Affair you mention can only say, that I have heard nothing 


of it, and you may depend on all the Candour you could wish 
from me on such Occasions Billy has sent you in the 2 
Vessels which lately sai'd for Philad* 300 of the Enquirys 50 
of which are to be deliver'd to the Assembly, 25 to Isr 1 Pem- 
berton & Charles Thomson, and the remaining 225 to be dis- 
pos'd of in Pensylvania and the neighbouring Governments. 


Craven Street, Friday, May 4, 1759. 

Hearing that you was in the Park last Sunday, I hop'd 
for the Pleasure of seeing you yesterday at the Oratorio in 
the Foundling Hospital; but, tho' I look'd with all the 
Eyes I had, not excepting even those I carry in my Pocket 
I could not find you; and this Morning your good Mama, 
has receiv'd a Line from you, by which we learn that you 
are returned to Wanstead. 

It is long since you heard from me, tho' not a Day passes 
in which I do not think of you with the same affectionate 
Regard and Esteem I ever had for you. My not writing 
is partly owing to an inexcusable Indolence, which I find 
grows upon me as I grow in Years, and partly to an Ex- 
pectation I have had, from Week to Week, of making a 
little Journey into Essex, in which I intended to call at Wan- 
stead, and promis'd myself the Pleasure of seeing you there. 
I have now fix'd this Day se'nnight for that Journey, and 
purpose to take Mrs. Stevenson out with me, leave her 
with you till the next Day, and call for her on Saturday in 

. l From the private collection of T. Hewson Bradford, M.D. ED. 


my Return. Let me know by a Line if you think any thing 
may make such a Visit from us at that time improper or 
inconvenient. Present my sincere Respects to Mrs. Tickell, 1 
and believe me ever, dear Polly, your truly affectionate 
Friend and humble Servant, B. FRANKLIN. 

P.S. We have Company that dine with us to-day, and 
your careful Mama, being busied about many things, cannot 
write. Will did not see you in the Park. Mr. Hunter and 
his sister are both gone. God prosper their Voyage. My 
Compliments to Miss Pitt. 


(P. c.) 

Thursday, June 7, '59. 


I have been so long in determining which to chuse of the 
two Tourmalines, that I fear you begin to think me unreason- 
able enough to keep them both. I now return the small 
one, and beg your Acceptance of my sincerest Thanks for 
the other, which tho' I value highly for its rare and wonder- 
ful Properties, I shall ever esteem it more for the Friend- 
ship I am honoured with by the Giver. 

I hear that the Negative Electricity of one Side of the 
Tourmalin, when heated, is absolutely denied and all that 
has been related of it ascrib'd to Prejudice in favour of a 
System by some ingenious Gentlemen abroad, who profess 
to have made Experiments on the Stone with Care and 

1 Aunt of Mary Stevenson. ED. 

2 The original letter, now in the possession of Mr. E. D. Church, was 
formerly in the Rowfant Library. ED. 


Exactness. The Experiments have succeeded differently with 
me ; yet I would not call the Accuracy of those Gentlemen 
in question. Possibly the Tourmalins they have try'd were 
not properly cut; so that the positive and negative Powers 
were obliquely plac'd, or in some manner whereby their 
Effects were confus'd, or the negative Part more easily 
supply'd by the positive. Perhaps the Lapidaries, who have 
hitherto cut these Stones, had no Regard to the Situation 
of the two Powers, but chose to make the Faces of the Stone 
where they could obtain the greatest Breadth, or some other 
Advantage in the Form. If any of these Stones, in their 
natural State, can be procur'd, I think it would be right 
to endeavour finding, before they are cut, the two Sides 
that contain the opposite Powers, and make the Faces 
there. Possibly, in that Case, the Effects might be stronger, 
and more distinct; for, tho' both these Stones, that I have 
examin'd, have evidently the two Properties, yet, without the 
full Heat given by boiling Water, they are somewhat confus'd ; 
the Virtue seems strongest towards one End of the Face ; and 
in the Middle, or near the other End, scarce discernible ; and 
the Negative, I think, always weaker than the Positive. 

I have had the large one new cut, so as to make both 
Sides alike, and find the Change of Form has made no Change 
of Power, but the Properties of each Side remain the same 
as I found them before. It is now set in a Ring in such a 
manner as to turn on an Axis, that I may conveniently, in 
making Experiments, come at both sides of the Stone. The 
little Rim of Gold it is set in, has made no Alteration in its 
Effects. The Warmth of my Finger, when I wear it, is 
sufficient to give it some Degree of Electricity, so that it is 
always ready to attract light Bodies. 


The following Experiments have satisfy'd me, that M. 
Epinus's Account of the positive and negative States of the 
opposite Sides of the heated Tourmalin is well founded. 

I heated the large Stone in boiling Water. 

As soon as it was dry, I brought it near a very small Cork 
Ball, that was suspended by a silk Thread. 

The Ball was attracted by one Face of the Stone, which I 
call Aj and then repell'd. 

The Ball in that State was also repelled by the positively 
charg'd Wire of the Phial, and attracted by the other Side 
of the Stone, B. 

The Stone being fresh heated, and the Ball attracted by 
the side B, was presently after repell'd, by that Side. 

In this second State it was repell'd by the negatively 
charg'd Wire of a Phial. 

Therefore, if the Principles now generally received, relat- 
ing to Positive and Negative Electricity, are true, the side 
A of the large Stone, when the Stone is heated in Water, is 
in a positive State of Electricity ; and the side B y in a nega- 
tive State. 

The same Experiments being made with the small Stone, 
stuck by one Edge on the End of a small Glass Tube, with 
Sealing-Wax, the same Effects are produced. The flat 
Side of the small Stone gives the Signs of positive Electricity ; 
the high Side gives the Signs of negative Electricity. 


I suspended the small Stone by a Silk Thread. 

I heated it, as it hung, in boiling Water. 

I heated the large one in boiling Water. 

Then I brought the large Stone near to the suspended 
small one; 

VOL. Ill 21 


Which immediately turn'd its flat Side to the Side B of 
the large Stone, and would cling to it. 

I turn'd the Ring, so as to present the side A of the large 
Stone to the flat Side of the small one. 

The flat Side was repell'd, and the small Stone, turning 
quick, apply'd its high Side to the Side A of the large one. 

This was precisely what ought to happen, on the Supposi- 
tion, that the flat Side of the small Stone, when heated in 
Water, is positive, and the high Side negative; the side A 
of the large Stone positive, and the side B negative. 

The Effect was apparently the same as would have been 
produc'd, if one Magnet had been suspended by a Thread, 
and the different Poles of another brought alternately near 

I find that the Face A of the large Stone, being coated with 
Leaf Gold (attached by the White of an Egg, which will 
bear dipping in hot Water), becomes quicker and stronger 
in its Effect on the Cork Ball, repelling it the Instant it 
comes in contact; which I suppose to be occasioned by the 
united Force of different Parts of the Face collected and 
acting together thro' the Metal. 

You have a Right to all the Experiments and Observa- 
tions I have made or may make on this admirable Stone. 
I therefore offer no Apology at giving you Trouble, when 
I only intend performing a Duty, which you may forbid 
whenever it becomes disagreable. With the greatest Esteem 

and Respect, I am, &c. 


1759] TO JAMES WRIGHT 483 

277. TO JAMES WRIGHT 1 (p. c.) 

London, July 9, 1759 

By the Cornelia, Capt. Smith, I sent you in a Box to Mrs. 


. s. d. 

Norden's Egypt, cost 440 

Maintenon's Letters & a Book of Husb'y 060 
A Thermometer i n 6 

6 i 6 

which I hope got safe to hand. There has been at my 
House one Mary James who was taken from Juniata about 
3 years & a half since, and carried by the Indians to Canada, 
was redeem'd from them by Col. Schuyler & got among the 
French; was sent with other Prisoners to old France, and 
after living there 15 Months, got over hither. She tells 
me she left two Children with you & your good Sister, 
whom she is very desirous of seeing. I am endeavouring 
to procure a Passage for her. 

I wrote to you some time since concerning the Silk Affair. 
For public Matters must beg leave to refer you to my Letters 
to the Speaker having now only time to add that I am, with 
affectionate Regards to all Friends, at the River. 

Your most obedient Servant 

Billy presents his Respects. 

1 From the collection of J. Ewing Mifflin, Esq. ED. 

University of Toronto 








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