Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to James Logan, 17 February 1750

To James Logan

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

[February 17, 1750]

I send Whiston’s Life.8 He seems to me to have been a man of great industry and little prudence. I have been lame these two weeks past, but am now so much better, that I think I shall be able to wait on you next week with Mr. Kalm.9 We had a very bright appearance of the Aurora Borealis last night. When I have the pleasure of seeing you, I shall give you a full account of the affairs of the Academy, which go on with all the success that could be expected.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Mr. William Whiston (London, 1749). Whiston (1667–1752), mathematician and theologian, had an acute mind but little judgment. A graduate of Cambridge, he succeeded Newton as Lucasian professor, 1703; he was removed in 1710 for Arianism. A tireless writer and lecturer, he confirmed the narrative of Genesis by Newtonian principles and explained the Flood by a collision of the earth and a comet (New Theory of the Earth, London, 1696); he believed that the Tartars were the Lost Tribes, formed a society for promoting primitive Christianity, translated Josephus, and, becoming scrupulous about the Athanasian Creed, left the Church of England in 1747 to become a Baptist. DNB. Whiston’s son John was one of the London booksellers with whom Logan dealt.

9BF took Kalm to Stenton February 28. Logan was unfavorably impressed. See below, p. 469.

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