Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from César-François Cassini de Thury, [on or after 14 April 1779]

From César-François Cassini de Thury2

ALS: American Philosophical Society

a Lacademie des Sciences [on or after April 14, 1779]3

Monsieur

M Le Roy vient de presenter a Lacademie un ouvrage qui minteresse dautant plus que je le regarde comme Le Votre, nÿ auroit til point de lindiscretion a Vous demander un exemplaire en attendant que jay L’honneur de Vous presenter un ouvräge qui est actuellement sous presse.

Je suis avec respect Monsieur Votre très humble et très obeissant serviteur

Cassini DE Thury
Dir. de lobservat, Royal

Addressed: A Monsieur / Monsieur francklin / de lacademie des sciences &c / A Passy

Notation: Cassini.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2The eminent French astronomer, geodesist, and cartographer (1714–84) who was responsible for producing the first modern map of France: DBF; Charles Coulston Gillispie, ed., Dictionary of Scientific Biography (16 vols., New York, 1970–80). This was, as far as we know, his only letter to BF.

3Le Roy delivered BF’s paper on the aurora borealis to a public meeting of the Académie des sciences on April 14; it met with an enthusiastic reception. The editor of Bachaumont, Mémoires secrets, noted the singularity of seeing a minister of a new republic preoccupied by weighty concerns finding the leisure to “s’amuser à la physique.” The paper was written in French “parfaitement bien,” assisted, it is true, by BF’s consultation with Le Roy on its style. Mémoires secrets, XIV, 23. A M. Raup de Batistin composed an impromptu quatrain:

Son cœur dictant les loix du nouveau monde,

Affranchit son pays qu’il eût pu gouverner:

En nous communiquant sa science profonde,

Du feu de son génie il vient nous enflammer.

François Métra, Correspondance secrete, politique & littéraire … (17 vols., London, 1787), VII, 395.

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