The Society of Arts: Notice of Committee Meeting
Printed form with MS insertions in blanks: American Philosophical Society
In the Franklin Papers there are a number of printed notices of committee meetings at the Society of Arts (above, VI, 187 n), an organization to which BF was devoted as his attendance record—some fifty-odd appearances at meetings between 1759 and 1762—attests. At various times he sat on the Committees of Agriculture, Mechanics, Polite Arts, and Chemistry and on Dec. 3, 1760, he was elected co-chairman (with John Pownall) of the Committee of Colonies and Trade, a position to which he was re-elected in the following December.9 The document printed below is the earliest surviving example of the Society’s notices. The others will not be separately printed.
For the Encouragement of Arts, &c. in the Strand.
June 10 17 61
Your Attendance is desired at a Committee appointed to meet at this Office, on Friday next the 12. Day of June Inst at 7 o’Clock in the After noon, to consider Articles in Agriculture
[Committee] of Mechanics meet on Saturd: next at 11. to determine the Comparative Merit of the Tide Mills.1
By Order of the Society,
Peter Templeman, Secretary.2
Addressed: To / Dr. Franklin / Craven Street / Strand
9. E. N. da C. Andrade, “Benjamin Franklin in London,” Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, CIV (1956), 227–8.
1. In 1759 the Society offered a premium of £50 for a model of a tide mill (a mill whose shaft was driven by the motions of the tide). Although two prizes of £20 were awarded in 1760, one of £60 and another of 10 guineas in 1761, and one of 20 guineas in 1762, none of the models was really successful, for the contestants could not wholly solve the problems created by variation in the velocity, and periodic reversal in the direction, of the flow of water. Robert Dossie, Memoirs of Agriculture and other Œconomical Arts, I (London, 1768), 112–13; Derek Hudson and Kenneth W. Luckhurst, The Royal Society of Arts (London, 1954), p. 112.
2. Peter Templeman (1711–1769), B.A., Cambridge, 1731, M.D., Leyden, 1737, author and editor of several medical works and translator of Norden’s Travels in Egypt and Nubia, was elected secretary of the Society of Arts in 1760, after having served for two years as Keeper of the Reading-Room at the British Museum. DNB.