Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Thomas-François Dalibard, 9 December 1761

To Thomas-François Dalibard1

MS not found; translation of extract reprinted from Gazette d’Epidaure, ou Recueil de Nouvelles de Médecine, III, no. XI (Feb. 6, 1762), 81.2 (Bibliothèque Nationale)

[December 9, 1761]


Il y a quelques années que la guerre a interrompu notre correspondance. Mon ami le Docteur Shippen3 partant pour voir Paris, j’ai profité de cette occasion pour vous communiquer l’extrait ci-joint d’une Lettre que j’ai reçûe de M. Kinnersley que j’imagine qui vous fera plaisir.4 Je suis, etc.

Benjamin Franklin

1The French scientist who translated BF’s Exper. and Obser. and the first to carry out his proposed experiment to prove the identity of lightning and electricity; see above, IV, 302 n.

2The title page of the bound volume bears the title of the journal as given here with the added words: “Avec des Réflexions, Pour simplifier la théorie et éclairer la practique. Par. M. Barbeu Dubourg” and a list of the editor’s titles and society memberships. Individual issues, however, are more simply headed Gazette de Médecine, and the journal is usually so catalogued.

3William Shippen, Jr., who had recently received his M.D. degree at Edinburgh; see above, p. 219 n.

4Kinnersley’s letter of March 12, 1761; see above, pp. 282–91. In Gazette de Médecine, III, no. VII (Jan. 23, 1762), 49–53, Dubourg had printed a paraphrase of that part of Kinnersley’s letter describing how a lightning rod had saved William West’s house from injury and had mentioned Dalibard’s intention of printing an exact translation. In no. x (February 3) Dubourg informed his readers that the translation would shortly appear in this journal and expressed astonishment that the Royal Society of Science in Paris had never printed Dalibard’s account of his great experiment at Marly-la-Ville, May 10, 1753. Immediately following the printing of the present extract of BF’s letter appears (pp. 82–6) Dalibard’s translation of Kinnersley’s report on the West incident. In no. XXXII (April 21), 256, Dubourg printed a translated extract of a letter from BF, March 20, 1762, thanking Dalibard for the translation and publication of the Kinnersley account.

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