Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Peter Collinson, 14 September 1749

From Peter Collinson

ALS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Lond Septr 14t 1749

Respected friend

I was unwilling to loose the Opertunity per Cap. Rice—So in 5 or 6 Days time I ordred all the Books to your Order that Could be gott together. I was so much engaged I could not go to see them before they was packed—but Hope the Bookseller has been carefull to send such as will Meet with your aprobation.

What can be gott to the remainder of your Order may be sent in the Spring with the things for the Air pump.

Your Bill is in its way to Scotland for Acceptance.

I am concern’d Capt. Clark was oblig’d to putt into Rhoad Island.

I have lately receivd a Book on Electricity from Paris,4 which I send for thy perusal. Return it by any private hand. I am perswaded it will afford thee some Entertainment.

I am with much Esteem thy sincere friend

P Collinson

Pray Remember Mee to J: Bartram. If I have leisure I will answer his Entertaining Letter of 28th July on the Locasts and Dragon flies &c. I Desire he would make Mee a Collection of them. I Long for the arrival of Budden to see what He has sent Mee.

I wonder he takes no Notice of what of my Orders are come to hand—for I have sent by several Ships for 13 boxes and now I have an order for another. I wish the year may prove plentyfull in Seeds for John Sake besides on order From Powell the Seedsman in Holbourn5 sent per J Pemberton6 for a Tenn or Twenty Guinea Cargo.

I hope J. Pemberton is safe arrived by whome have sent I Vol. Lives of Popes &c.7 Pray give my Love to him.

I Desire my friend John will send Mee in the next Ships ½ doz. young plants of the small Magnolia for my own Garden and of the flowering Ivy or next year which he thinks best.

{ By Mesnard £1: 1: 3
By the Macclesfield 2: 6
By the beula 12: 8
By Legross 2:
By J. Pemberton 1: 17:

I just now receivd a Present of a New Mapp of your Province and who I am to thank I [dont] know except Lewis Evans.8

[Addressed:] For  Mr Benn Franklin  In  Philadelphia  per Capt Rice

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Not identified.

5Possibly Anthony Powell, gardener to George II and author of The Royal Gardener (London, 1769). George W. Johnson, A History of English Gardening (London, 1829), p. 230.

6James Pemberton, who sailed home from England in July or August, 1749. Pemberton Papers, V, Hist. Soc. Pa.

7Archibald Bower, The History of the Popes (7 vols., London, 1748–66). In 1752 BF presented to Yale College a copy of Vol. I (2d edit., 1749), possibly the copy Collinson refers to here, and followed this gift in 1754 with Vol. II (3d edit., 1750).

8On Lewis Evans, see above, p. 48 n. His Map of Pensilvania, New-Jersey, New-York, And the Three Delaware Counties was engraved by Lawrence Hebert of Philadelphia, and a few trial copies were printed (possibly by Franklin and Hall) in the late winter of 1749, when subscriptions were opened. It was advertised as “just published” in Pa. Gaz., Aug. 3, 1749. The map is reproduced in facsimile in Henry N. Stevens, Lewis Evans: His Map of the Middle British Colonies in America (2d edit., London, 1920). See also Lawrence C. Wroth, An American Bookshelf, 1755 (Phila., 1934), pp. 150–4; Lawrence H. Gipson, Lewis Evans (Phila., 1939), pp. 17–24. The map has a special Franklin interest because Evans printed in one of the empty spaces some data on northeast storms and thundergusts which BF evidently provided. Although he had developed his theory about the course of northeast storms in 1743, this is the first published statement of it. See above, p. 149, also above, p. 365, on thundergusts, and below, p. 463, on storms. William E. Lingelbach, “Franklin and the Lewis Evans Map of 1749,” APS Year Book 1945, pp. 63–73. Evans’ paragraphs are as follows:

“All our great Storms begin to Leeward: thus a NE Storm shall be a Day sooner in Virginia than Boston. There are generally remarkable Changes in the Degrees of Heat and Cold at Philadelphia every 3 or 4 Days, but not so often to the Northward. The Navigation of Philadelphia is almost every Winter stopt by Ice for 2 or 3 Months; and tho’ North River is longer froze than Delaware, yet N. York, being on Salt Water affords better Winter Navigation. Both Delaware and N. York Bays are quite free from the Ship Worms. Land Wind in dry Weather raises the thickest Fogs, attracting the Moisture on the Rivers and Coasts, it comes in Contact with, in such large Quantities, that, untill it is dissipated by the Sun and other Causes, it obstructs the Vibrations of Light in direct Lines. After this Dissipation of Fogs, we have the most intense Heats; and very often Thunder Gusts towards Evening.

“Thunder never happens, but with the Meeting of Sea and Land Clouds. The Sea Clouds coming freighted with Electricity, and meeting others less so, the Equilibrium is restored by Snaps of Lightning: and the more opposite the Winds, and the larger and compacter the Clouds, the more dreadful are the Shocks: The Sea Clouds, thus suddenly bereft of that universal Element of Repellency, contract, and their Water gushes down in Torrents.

“Land Winds passing over a large shaded (and very often frozen) Continent (on both Sides of the Mountains) are always dry and cold, and the Sea Winds wet and warm. NE is a settled high Wind, and most often wet, and SW, squawly and unsettled. The hottest Weather is with a S Wind and Calms, and the coldest with NW. Snow comes from N to NE; Rainy Storms from NE to E; and high dry Wind from the W. The Land Winds blow above ¾ of the Year.”

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