Benjamin Franklin Papers

James Logan to Franklin and Hall, 7 May 1748

James Logan to Franklin and Hall

Letterbook copy: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

May the 7th [1748]

Friends B. Franklin and David Hall

As I intirely condemn your Publication in your last Gazette of J.F.’s Paper in relation to me,4 without my approbation which I should never have granted and impute it more as the forward Act of D. Hall than of you both together, I desire that you would publish this in your next Gazette that you may make me all the Amends that now lies in your Power to your friend

J Logan

P.S. As you put the Latin one first So put this.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4What so annoyed and angered Logan was an extravagantly worded tribute in Latin, addressed “Dignissime Domine,” composed by “J.F.,” and printed in the Gazette on May 5. It saluted Logan as a man whose reputation for learning was wide-ranging, unbounded, and unblemished by envy, and continued with fulsome glorification of his translation of Cato Major and of his work in mathematics and on the generation of plants. It hailed his perspicacity, character, and universal erudition, and ended with hexameters:

Vive igitur felix, nec sit felicior alter,

Qui Deus es patriae et florida fama tuae,

Doctorum Doctor, doctrina splendida Fultor,

Gentis delicium, Cultor et aonidum. …

(Live then in joy, may none more joyous be,

God in thy land, may thy fame nourish thee.

Teacher of teachers, trustee of learning’s pages,

Dear to thy people’s hearts, heir of all ages.)

Publication of the verses may have been (or Logan may have suspected it was) connected with Governor Belcher’s effort to get him to become a trustee of the College of New Jersey. I N.J. Arch., VII, 124–5. Logan declined because of poor health, reluctance to be identified with the Presbyterian clergymen who were in control, and (according to Frederick B. Tolles, James Logan and the Culture of Provincial America, Boston, 1957, p. 214) a suspicion that the invitation was designed to get him to give his library to the College.

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