Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Mills, 2 March 1763

From John Mills6

ALS: American Philosophical Society

London, March 2d. 1763.


Our worthy Friend, Mr. Small,7 is so kind as to undertake to convey to you and to Dr. Eliot,8 the first Volume of my Husbandry,9 which is at length finished at the Press, where the second Volume is now half done. But I have, unfortunately, a most dilatory, as well slovenly Printer to deal with,1 as you will perceive too plainly by his egregious and repeated blunders. I most heartily wish that the Book was in a condition fitter, in every respect, to be offered to you, both as to the Printer’s performance and my own: but if you will do me the honour of accepting it, such as it is, I shall esteem it an obligation added to those which you have already been pleased to confer on, Sir, Your most obedient, and most humble Servant,

John Mills.

[Addressed:] To / Dr. Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6John Mills (d. 1784?) was a British writer on agriculture whom BF helped to nominate for membership in the Royal Society in June 1765; see above, VIII, 357.

7Alexander Small (above, IX, 110–11 n), an agricultural writer and the inventor of the chain plow.

8For the Rev. Jared Eliot of Killingworth, Conn., the author of the well-known Essays upon Field-Husbandry in New England, see above, III, 147–8. Since Eliot died on April 22, 1763, BF sent Mills’s work (mentioned in the note immediately below) to his son, Col. Aaron Eliot (1718–1785). Mills to BF, July 12, 1764, APS.

9Mills’s opus, A New and Complete System of Husbandry (5 vols., London, 1762–65), was reissued in 1767 as A New System of Practical Husbandry.

1The Critical Review, XVIII (Aug., 1764), 87, lists the printer of the first volume of Mills’s work as “Baldwin.” This could have been either Henry Baldwin (d. c. 1766), the proprietor of the Britannia Printing Office, Whitefriars, Fleet Street, printer of Read’s Weekly Journal and The Daily Chronicle, or Richard Baldwin (d. 1777), or his son Richard Baldwin, Jr. (d. 1770). H. R. Plomer, G. H. Bushnell, E. R. McC. Dix, A Dictionary of the Printers and Booksellers … 1726–1775 (Oxford, 1932), p. 14; John Nichols, Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century (London, 1812), III, 716–17.

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