Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Peter Collinson, 14 June 1748

From Peter Collinson

ALS: University of Pennsylvania Library

Londn June 14th 1748

Friend Franklin

The Bearer Mr. Kalm9 Is an Ingenious Man and comes over on purpose to Improve himself in all Natural Inquiries. He is a Sweed per Nation and is as I am informed Imployed by the Academy of Upsal to make Observations on your Parts of the World. I recommend Him to thy Favour and Notice—by Him I send the first Vol. of the Voyage to Discover NorWest passage.1 I hope the pacquett &c. sent under the Care of Hunt & Greenlease2 is come safe to Hand. I am thy sincere friend

P Collinson

Addressed: To  Ben: Franklin  Philadelphia

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9Pehr Kalm (1716–1779), a botanist especially interested in medicinal and dye-yielding plants, was a pupil of Linnaeus, whom he had accompanied to Russia and the Ukraine, 1744. He was elected to the Swedish Academy of Sciences, 1745, and appointed professor of natural history at the University of Åbo, 1747. The account of his tour of America, 1748–51, was published at Stockholm in three volumes, 1753–61; it was translated into German, 1754–64; into English by Johann Reinhold Forster, 1770–71; and into Dutch, 1772. BF wrote to David Colden, March 5, 1773, that it was “full of idle Stories, which he picked up amongst ignorant People, and … ascribed … to Persons of Reputation who never heard of them till they were found in his Book”; and was mortified to read some of the things attributed to him. Kalm also published in the transactions of the Swedish Academy of Sciences papers on such American products as maple sugar, Indian corn, grasshoppers, wild pigeons, spruce beer, and rattlesnakes. His description of Niagara Falls (printed in Pa. Gaz., Sept. 20, 1750) was one of the earliest in English. Kalm was ordained a Lutheran clergyman, 1757 (he had sometimes preached in Swedish churches in America, and married the widow of Johann Sandin, pastor at Raccoon, N.J.), and received an honorary degree in theology from the University of Lund, 1768. He was offered, but declined, a post at St. Petersburg as professor of botany. Kalm, Travels, I, vii–ix, II, 770–3; Esther V. Larsen, “Peter Kalm, Preceptor,” PMHB, LXXIV (1950), 500–11.

1Probably the first volume of [Charles Swaine], An Account of a Voyage For the Discovery of a North-West Passage by Hudson’s Streights, which was published in May 1748. Gent. Mag., XVIII (1748), 240. The second volume appeared 1749.

2Not identified.

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