Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Cadwallader Colden, 10 July 1746

To Cadwallader Colden

ALS: New-York Historical Society

Philada. July 10. 1746


I have your Favours of June 2d. and the 7th Instant. I thank you for your little Treatise.3 I have interleav’d it, and am Reading it and Making Remarks as Time permits. I deliver’d one, as you directed, to Mr. Evans; another to Mr. Bertram. The former declares he cannot understand it; the latter told me the other Day, that he could not read it with the necessary Attention, till after Harvest, but he apprehended he should find it out of his Reach. I have not seen Mr. Logan since I sent him one. Two other Gentlemen to whom I gave each one, have not yet given me their Opinions; and in Truth I think you are somewhat too hasty in your Expectations from your Readers in this Affair. There are so many Things quite new in your Piece, and so different from our former Conceptions and Apprehensions, that I believe the closest and strongest Thinker we have amongst us, will require much longer Time than you seem willing to allow before he is so much a Master of your Scheme, as to be able to speak pertinently of it. Indeed those whose Judgment is of Value, are apt to be cautious of hazarding it: But for my Part, I shall, without Reserve, give you my Thoughts as they rose, knowing by Experience that you make large candid Allowances to your Friends. In a Post or two more I shall send them, with Mr. Logan’s Sentiments, if he will give them me, as I intend to see him in a few Days. Dr. Mitchel (as you will see by the enclos’d, which please to return me) is gone to England. I have sent one of your Pieces to Mr. Rose.4

I wish our Governor would go to Albany, for I imagine the Indians have some Esteem for him. But he is very infirm of late; and perhaps your Governor has not invited him in such a Manner as to make him think his Company would be really acceptable.5 Of this, however, I know nothing. If you go, I heartily wish you a safe and pleasant Journey, with Success in your Negociations. I am, with much Respect, Sir Your most humble Servant

B Franklin

Addressed: To  The Honble. Cadwallader Colden Esqr  New York  Free B Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Colden’s Explication of the First Causes of Action in Matter. His letters of July 2 and 7 have not been found.

4Robert Rose (1705–1751), rector of St. Anne’s parish, Essex County, Va., 1727–48, and of St. Anne’s parish, Albemarle (later Amherst) County, 1748–51; successful planter; friend of Governor Spotswood and executor of his estate. By descending the James River in a canoe with one or two friends in 1749, he determined its navigability from the present Amherst to Richmond; then, joining two canoes together, he showed his fellow planters how to float tobacco hogsheads from the back country down to market. His epitaph describes him as “a friend of the whole human race.” William Meade, Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia (Phila., 1857), I, 396–402; Thomas J. Wertenbaker, The Old South: The Founding of American Civilization (N.Y., 1942), pp. 121–3, 128–9; James Fontaine, Memoirs of a Huguenot Family, tr. Ann Maury (N.Y., 1853), pp. 388–9.

5Governor George Clinton of New York and the governors of the New England colonies had urged Governor Thomas to appoint commissioners to meet with the Indians, but the Pennsylvania Assembly refused on the ground that the purpose of the conference was to get the Six Nations to engage in war. They did offer to pay the governor’s expenses, under certain circumstances, if he should go to Albany himself, but bad health, which Richard Peters attributed to his drinking no wine, prevented his taking the trip. Pa. Col. Recs., V, 43, 48–9; Paul A.W. Wallace, Conrad Weiser (Phila., 1945), p. 238.

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