Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to James Logan, 16 December 1749

To James Logan

MS not found; reprinted from extract in Sparks, Works, VII, 40.

[December 16, 1749]

I send you herewith a new French piece on electricity,5 in which you will find a journal of experiments on a paralytic person. I also send Neal on Electricity,6 and the last Philosophical Transactions,7 in which you will find some other pieces on the same subject. If you should desire to see any of the experiments mentioned in those pieces repeated, or if any new ones should occur to you to propose, which you cannot well try yourself, when I come to fetch the apparatus they may be tried. I shall be glad to hear that the shocks had some good effect on your disordered side.8

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Probably Jean Jallabert, Expériences sur l’Electricité (Geneva, 1748), which contains a “Journal de quelques Expériences faites sur un Paralytique,” pp. 127–44, *129–*36.

6John Neale, Directions for Gentlemen, who have Electrical Machines, How to proceed in making their Experiments (London, 1747). At the close of the pamphlet the author appealed to the public for accounts of the application of electricity to paralytics.

7Probably No. 486, which was reported in Gent. Mag. of Sept. 1749 (XIX, 415) as just published. It contained two articles, by Johann Heinrich Winkler and Henry Baker, on the medical use of electricity. Phil. Trans., XLV (1748), 262–75.

8A stroke in 1740 partially paralyzed Logan’s right side; by the end of 1749 recurrent attacks of palsy left him weak and often helpless. Frederick B. Tolles, James Logan and the Culture of Provincial America (Boston, 1957), p. 195.

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