Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Peter Collinson, 7 March 1753

From Peter Collinson

ALS: Haverford College

Lond. March 7: 1753

My Dear Friend

I hope Mine by First Ships with some Books for L:C: [Library Company] as per account on other side and for thyself was Abbe Nolet Letters—are come safe to hand.3

As Lord Bolingbroke in his Letters that I sent last [autu]mn has insinuated very severe reflections on the authenticity of the Old and New Testament, I have collected the several Replies and Vindications per the most Eminent Hands and had them bound together which I hope will prove of Service to Convince those that have too precipitately fell in with his Way of thinking.4

Our Friend Cave has so many Irons in the Fire Some will burn and that is the Case thy aditional papers are not yett publishd.5 I have Just received Letters per Stockham in which I am acquainted that an Electrical Machine is Erected on purpose by the Kings Orders and a Physitian constantly attends to Make Experiments on Rhumatick Distempers with great Success and Wonderfull Cures have been performed.6

Please to tell J: Bartram all my Letters for him are putt in his Box of Seeds Directed for Him and there is Two paper parcells for the Lib. Company under thy Address—all to the Care of Messrs. Neat & Neave.

Your proprietor has lost his Son and Heir a fine Boye to the Great Greife of the Family.7 It is very Variously Reported Here, but pray tell Mee what is the general Estimation of the Income of your Province to the proprietary Family and whence doth it arise.8

Wee have at last received the Tenn pound bill but after much trouble and being Noted He thought fitt to pay it. I hope the [parcel] Paduasoye is come safe in Capt. Childs Trunk Mark’d IC No 8 shiped by John Samuell and gives content.

I have received none since thine of Novb 19:9 which I answerd per Mesnard &c. I am much Obliged for the Votes.1 Mr. Jackson has them to Peruse. I deliverd to him Johnsons Noticia [Noetica] which he took kindly.

Pray send Mee the Account of your births and Burials.2 I am my Dear friend Much yours

P Collinson

The Inclosed Letter is for our friend Elliot[?] per Mr. [unfinished].

The Duke of Argyle3 Desires Mee to procure for Him Doc. Douglas Works to the Time of his Death, the price I will place to your Credit account. Pray oblige us so farr as to send it per first opportunity.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Not found. Presumably the letter fell between that of January 27 and this of March 7. It may have contained the compliment BF quoted to Jared Eliot, April 12, 1753 (see below, p. 466).

4The “Replies and Vindications” elicited by Bolingbroke’s Letters on the Study and Use of History (London, 1752), were those of Bishop Robert Clayton, James Hervey, John Leland, and Peter Whalley, published in 1752 and 1753. The volume Collinson sent contained these pamphlets and William Whiston’s Historical Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Dr. Samuel Clarke, 1748; it is in Lib. Co. Phila.

5See below, p. 458.

6Peter Kalm mentioned briefly these cures of lameness, palsy, and deafness in a letter dated Feb. 4, 1753, o.s., and printed in Gent. Mag., XXIII (1753), 165.

7William, first son of Thomas and Lady Juliana Penn, born June 21, 1752, died Feb. 14, 1753. PMHB, XXI (1897), 341.

8The actual income of the Penns from their province was less than was generally believed: Thomas Penn told Richard Peters in 1749 that for 15 years, 1732–47, he had laid by only about £100 a year. The principal sources of income were quitrents on land, customs duties, and a variety of smaller rents and payments such as licenses, fines, fees, forfeitures, ferry rents, profits on certain markets and stalls. For brief discussions see William R. Shepherd, History of the Proprietary Government in Pennsylvania (N.Y., 1896), pp. 84–93, and Lawrence H. Gipson, The British Empire before the American Revolution, III (Caldwell, Idaho, 1936), 200–3.

9Not found. But on January 27 Collinson thanked BF for his letter of December 2; this may have mostly duplicated that of November 19.

1Votes and Proceedings of the Assembly.

2See above, pp. 357–8.

3Archibald Campbell, third Duke of Argyll (1682–1761), was a patron of the Edinburgh medical school, owned a great private library, and was much looked to by Scots in America for patronage. Colden Paps., III, 119; IX, 19, 87, 97. The books he wanted were probably William Douglass, A Summary, Historical and Political … of the British Settlements in North-America (Boston, 1749–51); The Practical History of a New Epidemical Eruptive Miliary Fever … in Boston … 1735 and 1736 (Boston, 1736); and An Essay, Concerning Silver and Paper Currencies (Boston, 1738).

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