Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to John Canton, 12 November 1760

To John Canton

ALS: The Royal Society

Wednesday Nov. 12 [1760]

Dear Sir

What pass’d at the Society last Thursday night, was chiefly, a Motion for an Address to the King, which was agreed to, and a Committee appointed to make a Draft.2 The Society adjourn’d to Monday night, to hear the Address and agree upon it, which was also done. On Thursday next at the Meeting we are to be inform’d when it is to be presented. I hope I shall have the Pleasure of seeing you there at that time; and am Sir, Your most obedient Servant

B Franklin

P.S. I doubt I shall not be ready with the Paper, but have other Reasons for desiring you not to be absent.3

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Following the death of George II, Oct. 25, 1760, and the accession of George III, the Royal Society, like many other organizations, presented a “humble Address” to the new monarch. Following its preparation and acceptance by the membership as described in this letter, Secretary of State William Pitt, F.R.S., arranged for the presentation, which took place on November 17. The text of the address and a brief account of the ceremony are in Charles R. Weld, A History of the Royal Society (London, 1848), II, 20–1.

3What “Paper” BF had in mind is not clear; perhaps he wished to study more carefully Canton’s letter of October 31 (above, p. 240) in order to discuss it when they met. The “other Reasons” for wanting Canton’s presence at that particular meeting are unknown. It may be noted, however, that at the Society meeting on Thursday, November 13, there was read a paper of Benjamin Wilson’s dealing with the permeability of glass, as Canton’s letter of October 31 had done. Phil. Trans., LI, Part II (1760), 896–906.

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