Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to James Logan, 30 October 1748

To James Logan

MS not found; reprinted from Sparks, Works, VII, 37–8.

Philadelphia, October 30, 1748


I received your favor of the 28th,1 with the piece on the Generation of Plants, for which I thank you. Mr. Sandin, the Swedish missionary,2 who gave me Wahlboom’s Oration to send you, (as he passed through this town from New York, where he just arrived, to Racoon Creek, where he was to be settled,) I have never seen since. Mr. Kalm came to see me the day he arrived, and brought me letters from Mr. Collinson and Dr. Mitchell, both recommending him. I invited him to lodge at my house, and offered him any service in my power; but I never saw him afterwards till yesterday, when he told me that he had been much in the country, and at New York, since his arrival, but was now come to settle in town for the winter.3 Today he dined with me; and, as I had received yours in the morning, I took occasion to ask him if he had not yet seen Mr. Logan. He said, no; that he had once been out with his countryman, Mr. Kock,4 proposing to wait on you as they returned; but it proved later in the evening than they had expected, and he thought a visit then would be unseasonable, but proposed soon to pay his respects to you. Possibly he might at that time have5 the packet for you at Naglee’s.6 I did not ask him about that. Inquiring of him what was become of Mr. Sandin, he told me that soon after he got to Racoon Creek, he was taken with the fever and ague, which was followed by several other disorders, that constantly harassed him, and at length carried him off, just as Kalm arrived here, who, hearing that he was dangerously ill, hurried down to see him, but found him dead.

Sandin had a family with him, and, when here, was in haste to get to his settlement, but might intend to wait on you when he should come again to Philadelphia. Kalm, I suppose, might be in haste to see as much of the country as he could, and make his journey to New York, before cold weather came on. I mention these things so particularly, that you may see you have not been purposely avoided by both these gentlemen, as you seem to imagine. I did not let Kalm know that you had mentioned him to me in your letter. I shall write to Mr. Hugh Jones,7 as you desire. I am, Sir, &c.

B. Franklin

1Not found.

2See above, p. 282 n.

3Peter Kalm (see above, p. 300 n) returned to Philadelphia from New York Oct. 25 (o.s.). In his journal covering the days after this visit with BF are several of his host’s anecdotes and observations: evidence that land around Philadelphia was once under water, the report of a Boston ship captain on the inhabitants of northern Greenland, an experiment to prove that ants communicate, and an experiment of Josiah Franklin on the migratory instinct of herring. BF also showed him some New England asbestos and described the purse he had given Sir Hans Sloane (see above, I, 54); and described two moose he had seen in Boston as a boy. They were a present for Queen Anne, and a kindly merchant paid the admission charge of 2d. for BF and a number of his schoolmates. Kalm, Travels, I, 106, 143, 154–61. Kalm wrote (ibid., I, 17) that BF “was the first who took notice of me and introduced me to many of his friends. He gave me all necessary instruction and showed me kindness on many occasions.”

4Peter Cock (d. 1749), Philadelphia merchant, native of Sweden. He received Kalm with “extraordinary kindness,” and did him “unusual favors” in his country place near Germantown. Ibid., II, 625.

5So in Sparks, but probably a misreading for “leave.”

6Probably the house of John Naglee (d. 1751) on the Germantown road, close to Stenton. Harry M. and Margaret B. Tinkcom and Grant M. Simon, Historic Germantown, APS Memoirs, XXXIX (1955), p. 34.

7Rev. Hugh Jones (c. 1692–1760), rector of St. Stephen’s Church, North Sassafras Parish in Bohemia Manor, Md., 1731–60. A graduate of Jesus College, Oxford, he was professor of natural philosophy at the College of William and Mary, 1717–21. A competent mathematician, he was on Maryland’s commission to settle the boundary dispute with Pennsylvania, 1732–33 (when he met Logan). DAB. His writings on measurement, “Natural Arithmetic,” and the “Universal Georgian Calendar,” were published as The Pancronometer (London, 1753). His Present State of Virginia (London, 1724) has been edited, with a detailed biographical introduction, by Richard L. Morton (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1956). Jones appears as one of BF’s customers in Ledger D.

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