Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from James Logan, 9 November 1748

From James Logan

Letterbook copy: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

9br [November] 9th [1748]

My friend B F.

I here return thee Hen: Ellis’s Tract of his Voyage to Hudson’s Bay,1 which I have perused and I thank thee for the Loan of it. But I’m Sorry for the Loss of Sandin the Swedish Minister for they generally use to be a good Sort of People, their Ministers I mean. I know not what to think of Kalm.2 I had a Letter from Linnaeus 10 or 11 years Since when he was in Holland, and another recommendation from the Same Linnaeus, in Gustav Wahlbom’s Inauguration [dissertation] which as I have Said before, is called Sponsalia Plantarum and in this he mentions my little piece3 that I Sent thee in my last 4 times, and yet carries not the matter as far as I have done which I admire at, And thereto I would willingly Speak with Kalm tho’ I’m very Sensible Age and the Palsey have weakned me much, and the hesitation in my Speech has greatly disabled me.4 But he Surprizes me if he comes on no other design than he told to P. Collinson. I would gladly See thee when thou canst make it Suit thy own time and if thou keeps not a horse my Son will furnish thee with one. I am with Sincere respect Thy real friend


To Benj. Franklin

1Henry Ellis, A Voyage to Hudson’s Bay, by the Dobbs Galley and California, published in London, August 1748. Gent. Mag., XVIII (1748), 384.

2Logan suspected Kalm’s purpose in traveling to Canada, where, as it turned out, he was well received, his patron Count Tessin, president of the Swedish Academy of Sciences, being a leader of the pro-French party in Sweden. Kalm, Travels, II, 681. Furthermore, Kalm’s travels among the Swedish inhabitants along the Delaware may have seemed to Logan to have political implications. In any event, Kalm was casual, to say the least, in paying his respects to the American philosophers. Darlington, Memorials, pp. 371, 372.

3Logan’s Experimenta et meletemata de plantarum generatione (Leyden, 1739), which reported his experiments in plant fertilization, using Indian corn. An English translation was published in London, 1747. Frederick B. Tolles, James Logan and the Culture of Provincial America (Boston, 1957), pp. 199–202.

4A stroke in 1740 had left Logan’s right side partially paralyzed; he made some recovery, but by 1750 additional strokes had deprived him of speech. Tolles, Logan, p. 195; Albert C. Myers, ed. Hannah Logan’s Courtship (Phila., 1904), p. 281. Kalm did not call on Logan until Feb. 28, 1750. See below, p. 469.

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