To Peter Collinson
MS not found; reprinted from Benjamin Franklin, Experiments and Observations on Electricity (London, 1769), p. 165.
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.8 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.9
8. Precisely what letters and papers this packet contained is not known, but it included much of the correspondence and papers of James Bowdoin, John Perkins, Cadwallader Colden, and James Alexander printed above in this and the preceding two volumes.
9. At this point in the printed letter appears the following note: “These Letters and Papers are a Philosophical Correspondence between Mr. Franklin and some of his American Friends. Mr. Collinson communicated them to the Royal Society, where they were read at different meetings during the year 1756. But Mr. Franklin having particularly requested 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 pursuing 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 useful to others in their philosophical researches.”