Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Cadwallader Colden, 5 December 1760

To Cadwallader Colden4

ALS: New-York Historical Society

London, Dec. 5. 17605

Dear Sir,

I take this first Opportunity of congratulating you most sincerely on your Accession to the Government of your Province, which I am the more pleas’d with, as I learn that the Ministry are well satisfy’d the Administration has fallen into so good Hands, and therefore that you are not like to be soon superseded by the Appointment of a new Governor.6

The Abbé Nollet has lately published another Volume of Letters on Electricity, in which he undertakes to support his Principles against the Attacks they have met with from all Quarters.7 He has sent me a Copy, and another for your Son Mr. David Colden. I take the Freedom of forwarding it under your Cover, with my best Respects to that very ingenious young Gentleman, whose valuable Work on the same Subject I am sorry has not yet been made publick.8

With the greatest Esteem and Regard I have the Honour to be Dear Sir, Your most obedient and most humble Servant

B Franklin

Honble. Cadr. Colden Esqr.

Endorsed: Franklin Decr 3 1760

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4On this N. Y. political leader and scientific correspondent of BF, see above, II, 386 n.

5The day of the month is overwritten and could be read as either “3” or “5.” It is printed here as “3” since Colden’s endorsement shows that he accepted that date as correct.

6James DeLancey, lieutenant governor of N. Y., who had been acting governor since the departure of Sir Charles Hardy in 1757, died suddenly on July 30, 1760. Colden, his senior councilor, automatically succeeded to the administration with the title of president and commander-in-chief. Through friends in England he sought a commission as lieutenant governor, and Lord Halifax told Peter Collinson that he thought well of Colden but he had some reservations because of the New Yorker’s age—almost 73. On April 14, 1761, some months after the accession of George III, the commission was issued, and at the same time Gen. Robert Monckton (1726–1782) was appointed governor. Three times more before his death in 1776 at the age of eighty-eight, the administration of the colony devolved on Colden. Colden Paps., V, 346–7, 370–1; VI, 26–7; Alice M. Keys, Cadwallader Colden A Representative Eighteenth Century Official (N.Y., 1906), pp. 260–74.

7On Jean-Antoine Nollet and his attack on BF’s electrical theories, see above, IV, 423–8. In 1760 he issued a new edition with a second volume: Lettres sur L’Electricité. Dans lesquelles on soutient le principe des Effluences et Affluences simultanées contre la doctrine de M. Franklin et contre les nouvelles prétentions de ses partisans, Seconde Partie.

8On David Colden and his defense of BF against Nollet, see above, V, 135–44, 435; on his paper sent to BF in England but never published, see above, VII, 263–4; VIII, 170–2.

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