Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from James Bowdoin, 18 January 1764

From James Bowdoin

Letterbook copy: Massachusetts Historical Society

Boston, Janry: 18. 1764


I am very glad to hear you got home Safe with your Daughter and Mr. Foxcroft without any further accident; and hope your arm has recovered it’s former Strength.7

I here enclose, open for your perusal, a Letter to Mr. Canton on the Subject I spoke to you about. If any thing should occur to you to improve the Telescope further than what is noticed in said Letter, I shall take it as a favor you would mention it to Mr. Canton; and that you’d be so good as to let my letter accompany your own.8 I hope we shall soon have the pleasure of seeing you again. An annual tour this way would contribute much to your health. Please to make my Compliments to your good lady, to your daughter and Mr. Foxcroft and believe me to be with the utmost regard Dear Sir your most humble &c. Whenever Mr. Winthrop shall deliver me Æpinus, I will take care to send it to you.9

I would have a Micrometer of Dolland’s Invention fixed to the Telescope.1 I intirely forgot to mention it in my letter to Mr. Canton. I shall be obliged if you’ll mention in your Letter to him. The micrometer to be taken off and put on at pleasure, if when on and not wanted, it would stand in the way.

This is the Figure which the Foregoing Letter to Mr. Canton refers to.

Benja. Franklin Esqr. in Philadelphia

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7For BF’s trip to New England in the summer of 1763, during which he twice fell and both times injured his shoulder, see above, X, 276–9.

8BF enclosed this letter with his own to Canton of March 14, 1764; see above, X, 351 n, and below, p. 99.

9Winthrop sent the Æpinus books to Ezra Stiles who returned them to BF; apparently Bowdoin was not able to see them. See above, X, 351–2 n, and below, p. 246.

1Edward Nairne (above, X, 171 n), the English instrument maker who worked on Bowdoin’s telescope, decided that the attachment of a micrometer was impractical; see above, X, 351 n, and below, p. 245. John Dollond (1706–1761), F.R.S., 1761, abandoned his trade of silk weaving in 1752 to devote himself to the study of optics. He won the Copley medal in 1758 for the invention of the achromatic telescope and in 1761 was appointed optician to the King. In 1753 and 1754 Dollond’s papers describing the development of his “divided object-glass micrometers” were published in Phil. Trans., from which Bowdoin probably learned about them. DNB.

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