Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Peter Collinson, 29 July 1750

To Peter Collinson

Copy: American Academy of Arts and Sciences3

Philada. July 29 1750


As you first put us on Electrical Experiments by sending to our Library-Company a Tube with Directions how to use it; and as our honourable Proprietor4 enabled us to carry those Experiments to a greater Height, by his5 generous Present of a complete Electrical Apparatus; ’Tis fit that both should know from Time to Time what Progress we make. It was in this View I wrote and sent you my former Papers on this Subject, desiring, that, as I had not the Honour of a direct Correspondence with that bountiful Benefactor to our Library, they might be communicated to him thro’ your Hands. In the same View I write and send you this additional Paper. If it happens to bring you Nothing new (which will not be strange, considering the many ingenious Men in Europe6 continually engaged in the same Researches) at least it will shew, that the Instruments put into our Hands are not neglected, and that if no valuable Discoveries are made by us, whatever may be the Cause,7 it is not a Want of Industry and Application.8

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Headed “Letter the sixth” in the Bowdoin MS, this communication is included in all printed editions of Exper. and Obser. without number but with the heading: “Additional Papers to Peter Collinson, Esq; F.R.S. London.” It is directly followed in the Bowdoin MS and all printed editions by the paper entitled “Opinions and Conjectures.”

4In all printed editions: “proprietary.”

5In all printed editions: “this.”

6In all printed editions the first part of the parenthetical passage reads: “which may well be, considering the number of ingenious men in Europe.”

7In all printed editions: “whatever the cause may be.”

8All printed editions conclude with: “I am, Sir, Your much obliged Humble Servant, B. Franklin.”

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