Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Thomas Percival, 16 May 1771

From Thomas Percival5

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Manchester May 16. 1771.


Though I have not the honour of being known to you, I take the liberty of requesting your acceptance of the inclosed Attempt to account for the different quantities of rain, which fall at different heights, and shall esteem myself happy if it meet with your approbation. I am conscious that my solution of this Phaenomenon is liable to many exceptions, and shou’d wish to be favoured with your better explanation of it.6

My friend Doctor Priestley flattered me last Summer with the prospect of seeing you at Manchester, and obligingly promised to introduce me to your acquaintance. If business or Curiosity shou’d call you into this part of England, I shall be extremely glad to render you any Civilities in My power, and shall think myself honoured by a visit from you. I am with the highest Esteem and respect Sir Your most obedient humble Servant

Tho. Percival.

Addressed: To / Doctor Franklin / London.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5A Lancashire dissenter, physician, author, and experimental scientist, who later did notable work in public health, Percival (1740–1804) was already on the way to establishing an international circle of friends and correspondents, many of great distinction. He had been elected an F.R.S. some years before, when he was said to have been the youngest man ever accorded that honor. DNB.

6For the enclosure and BF’S reply see below, end of June.

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