Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Ezra Stiles, 12 March 1755

From Ezra Stiles

Draft: Yale University Library

Y.C. [Yale College] Mar. 12. 1755


This accompanies your Letters and Manuscript,2 which I have perused with very great Pleasure and Admiration. Please to accept my grateful Acknowledgments for them. Must ask your Pardon for not Returning them sooner — but as sundry Gentlemen here were desirous to read them, I hoped your Benevolence and Love of Communicating ingenious Discoveries to Mankind, would forgive me. Without Adulation, am extremely charmed with them; they read with the highest philosophic Delight. I have, with a great deal of Pleasure, read over and explained the Substance of them to my Pupils,3 and thank you for this Opportunity of Openning them to an Acquaintance with what, will doubtless soon become the most considerable Branch of Natural Philosophy. I much want to have the negative State of Electricity in the Clouds confirmed, by the Experiment you conceived at Dr. Eliots.4 Please to give my Compliments to Mr. Alison and Mr. Kennersly of whose Humanity I retain a grateful Remembrance.5 I wish Prosperity to your Academy, and am, Sir, With Gratitude and Honour Your most Obedient Servant

Ezra Stiles

To B Franklin Esqr.

[In the margin:] I should be glad to peruse the 2d part of your Letters, and your Extracts from Bishop Wilkins philosophic Language.6

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Possibly the same manuscripts BF allowed James Bowdoin to read (see above, pp. 455, 476). He could have lent them to Stiles after getting them back from Bowdoin about the middle of January (see above, p. 490).

3Stiles was a tutor at Yale from 1749 to the summer or fall of 1755, when he moved to Newport as minister.

4Jared Eliot. See above, III, 147 n. For a possible identification of these experiments, see below, pp. 516, 524.

5On a visit to Philadelphia in September 1754 Stiles met Francis Alison, master of the Latin School (see above, IV, 470 n), and Ebenezer Kinnersley, master of the English School (see above, II, 259 n and III, 376 n). After visiting classes Stiles viewed the city from the Academy roof, and Kinnersley entertained him with electrical experiments. PMHB, XVI (1892), 375–6.

6Supplemental Experiments and Observations on Electricity, Part II (London, 1753), and Bishop John Wilkins, An Essay towards a real Character and a Philosophical Language (London, 1668). See BF to Stiles, Sept. 1, 1755.

Index Entries