Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Perkins, 12 March 1770

From John Perkins2

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Boston March 12th. 1770


When I imagin myself possess’d of any new Thought I think it, in the first place, due to your Inspection and accordingly have inclos’d my Conjectures on the Caudae Cometive; to gether with the small Tract on Epidemic Colds.3

I confess there is something unnatural in phylosophic Speculations at a Time when the Nation is involv’d in such Disorder and Confusion; and in accosting you with them in the midst of your weighty Employments, the businesses of State; in which you are so much needed; but Gratitude for very many Favours would not suffer me to be any longer Silent: They are too many for me to enumerate; the many former ones, and the latter of the Thermometer; Your Effigies; and Collection of Papers;4 together with the honour you have done some of my Thoughts; Of all which I retain the most gratefull Sense. Sincerely wishing you all that may render Life most happy, and desireable, I am Sir Your most obliged, most obedient and Humble Servant

John Perkins

Dr: Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2For Dr. John Perkins, BF’s longtime correspondent on medical and scientific phenomena, see above, IV, 267 n.

3The first was perhaps the MS of his The True Nature and Cause of the Tails of Comets. Elucidated in a Rationale Agreeing with Their Several Phanomena … (Boston, 1772). No American work on colds as early as this has been identified. The subject was one in which BF had been and long continued to be interested.

4For BF’s gift to Perkins in 1764 of one of the Fisher prints of his portrait by Chamberlain see above, XI, 90. The “Collection of Papers” was probably one of the six copies of his Exper. and Obser. (1769) that BF had mentioned to Jane Mecom; see above, XVI, 52.

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