Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Peter Collinson, 11 July 1750

From Peter Collinson

ALS: Library Company of Philadelphia

Lond. July 11 1750

My Dear friend

If I catch the Bagg before its taken away its more than I expect. Can only Acknowledge the favour of thine June 1st with Bartram and Hopkinsons. As to thine the Letter I left in the Country, I sent per Next Ship and return’d thy Sons Journal. I shall be Concern’d it Miscarried.1 I am in hopes it may yett Come to hand but I have so many Affairs, I can’t Keep Coppys of my Letters so cannot saye Exactly by what Ship it Went.

Your proprietor in General approves your Academy Butt thinks it a Little too premature. Shall be glad if the Colony is come to such a Maturity as to support so Beneficial a Work.2

He Designs to Encourage It. I regret my not Showing Him your List of Instruments, for He Intended if I had not first bespoke them to have Sent them himself. Perhaps when I Show Him the Cost He may Yett Do It.

I must not forget to tell thee all thy Electrical papers and on Thunder gust are come to hand and printing under the Correction of Docr. Fothergill.3 Tell J. Bartram, the proprietor tells Mee nothing of the Expedition to Erie. I think He ought to Consider His own Welfare which is that of his familys before anybody and I am fully perswaded the proprietor desires nothing to their prejudice nor his own. I think it is a Dangerous Expedition so he is Wise to defer it.4

It seems Incredible in Latt 52 there should be no Cold to fix a freezing point which is the Reason Bird5 could make no Thermometers. So tell our Friend Hopkinson.6

The Trunk with the books &c. I hope will Come safe. I Refer to my other Letters. I am my Dear friend yours

P Collinson

Addressed: To  Benn Franklin Esqr  Philadelphia  per Cap Budden

1William Franklin accompanied Conrad Weiser to a council with the Ohio Indians in the summer of 1748. His journal, doubtless a private one, apparently was not recovered. Weiser’s journal was laid before the Pennsylvania Council; it is printed in Pa. Col. Recs., V, 348–58.

2Thomas Penn’s views were expressed in a letter to Governor Hamilton, Feb. 12, 1750: “Your proposal for the education of youth is much more extensive than ever I designed, and I think more so than the circumstances of the Province require. The best of our people must be men of business which I do not think very great public schools or universities render youth fit for. … I find people here think we go too fast with regard to the matter and it gives an opportunity to those fools who are always telling their fears that the Colonies will set up for themselves.” Quoted in Edward P. Cheyney, History of the University of Pennsylvania (Phila., 1940), pp. 31–2.

3See below, pp. 125–30.

4Thomas Penn had proposed in 1749 that Lewis Evans, on the pretext of correcting his map, and John Bartram, to search for plants, should survey the boundaries of Pennsylvania, in view of the claims of Virginia and the Ohio Company and of Pennsylvania’s interest in the Indian trade. Bartram, according to Richard Peters, thought Conrad Weiser should be included in the party, but as Weiser and Evans could not get on, William Parsons might be substituted for Evans. Weiser objected to the scheme as certain to arouse the suspicions of the Indians, and it was called off. Lawrence H. Gipson, Lewis Evans (Phila., 1939), pp. 33–5, 39; Paul A. W. Wallace, Conrad Weiser (Phila., 1945), pp. 291–3. For Evans’ instructions and his conditions, 1750, see I Pa. Arch., II, 47–9.

5John Bird, mathematical instrument maker of London. See above, III, 484 n.

6Thomas Hopkinson, lawyer, first president of APS, 1743; an electrical experimenter with BF. See above, I, 209 n.

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