Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to William Strahan, 16 November 1752

To William Strahan

ALS: Yale University Library

Philada. Nov. 16. 1752

Dear Sir

Your Favours of Augt. 26. with the Books for the Library Company, &c. came safe to hand;2 and all turn out right; excepting that D’Argens Philosophy of Common Sense is not come,3 but another thing of his instead of it. The Life of Boerhave sent is an old and small Book; what we intended was a new Life lately published in (I think) 4 Vols. 8vo.4 Condamine’s Figure of the Earth, is not come; but Maupertuis’s instead of it, which we had before;5 And instead of Chaucer’s whole Works, in his old original English; only the Canterbury tales moderniz’d, are come.6 These too, we had before, or we should keep them; tho’ I think they are imperfect Books, and two of the Volumes intermix’d with each other in the Binding. We are very well pleas’d that you omitted Catesby’s Carolina, and we shall, as you judg’d, chuse rather to have Savery entire, than in Numbers.

The Sconce came out very well, and is a very handsome one. The Mirrour and Globes also came out well; but we think Mrs. Senex has impos’d on us in the Price of the Globes, there being 2 pair in this Town of the same Size and the same Prints, both bought at the same Shop, for 6 Guineas the pair. Please to speak to her about it.7

I suppose you have receiv’d a £20 Bill from me since Augt. 26. the Date of your Account. I shall take Care speedily to remit the Ballance.

Our Compliments to Mrs. Strahan, Master Billy, and to Mr. Sterling. I am, with great Esteem and Affection, Dear Sir, Your obliged humble Servant

B Franklin

Do the Globemakers ever cover old Globes with new Prints? I have a Pair of Senex’s the same with these, but they having stood long uncover’d in a smoaky Room, are now scarce legible: The Balls and Frames &c. as good as ever.8

Addressed: To  Mr Wm Strahan  Printer  London  Per Myrtilla Capt. Budden

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2For Strahan’s letter see above, p. 350, and for BF’S order for the Library Company see above, p. 323.

3Jean Baptiste de Boyer, Marquis d’Argens, The Impartial Philosopher: or, The Philosophy of Common Sense. Translated from the third edition (2 vols., London, 1729).

4The work desired was probably William Burton, An Account of the Life and Writings of Herman Boerhaave. In two parts, with an appendix (2d edit., London, 1746).

5Possibly the work desired was La Figure de la terre, déterminée par les observations de Messieurs Bouguer, & de la Condamine … envoyés par ordre du Roy au Pérou (Paris, 1749), by Bouguer. La Condamine’s work was Journal du Voyage fait par ordre du Roi (Paris, 1751). Instead Strahan had sent Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis, The Figure of the Earth Determined from Observations made by Order of the French King, at the Polar Circle (London, 1738). See Poor Richard, 1755, for BF’s use of the work.

6Instead of one of several possible editions of Chaucer’s complete works, Strahan had sent The Canterbury Tales of Chaucer Moderniz’d by Several Hands. Published by Mr. Ogle (3 vols., London, 1741).

7On the Senex globes, see above, p. 323 n.

8On the back of the letter Strahan wrote, apparently as notes for his now-missing reply of Jan. 20, 1753: “Washing them with a Sponge and fair Water or thin Starch as used for Linnen—Colouring them with thin transparent Colours Frames.”

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