Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to William Cullen, 21 October 1761

To William Cullen8

MS not found; reprinted from John Thomson, An Account of the Life, Lectures, and Writings of William Cullen, M.D. (Edinburgh and London, 1859), I, 140.

London, 21st, October 1761

Dear Sir,

I hear, that since I had the pleasure of seeing and conversing with you on the subject, you have wrote some of your sentiments of Fire, and communicated them to the Philosophical Society.9 If so, as it may be some time before their publication, I should think myself extremely obliged to you if I could be favoured with a copy, as there is no subject I am more impatient to be acquainted with. It should go no further than my own closet without your permission.

I thank you for the civilities you were so good as to shew my friend Mr. Shippen, whom I took the liberty of recommending to your notice the last year.1 Give me leave to recommend one friend more to your advice and countenance. The bearer, Mr. Morgan,2 who purposes to reside some time in Edinburgh for the completion of his studies in Physic, is a young gentleman of Philadelphia, whom I have long known and greatly esteem; and as I interest myself in what relates to him, I cannot but wish him the advantage of your conversation and instructions. I wish it also for the sake of my country, where he is to reside, and where I am persuaded he will be not a little useful. I am, with the greatest esteem and respect, Dear Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,

B. Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Professor of chemistry at Edinburgh; see above, VII, 184 n.

9No such paper appears in the third volume of Essays and Observations, Physical and Literary (1771) of the Philosophical Society of Edinburgh. It may never have been published; John Thomson mentions that various essays on heat survive among Cullen’s papers. An Account of the Life, Lectures, and Writings of William Cullen, M.D. (Edinburgh and London, 1859), I, 54.

1See above, pp. 219–20.

2John Morgan (1735–1789) was the son of Evan Morgan (1709–1763), BF’s friend and associate in the Library Co., the Association, the Hospital, and the Pa. Assembly, and with BF one of the provincial commissioners in 1755. The father’s name has appeared often in earlier volumes; see esp., VI, 285 n. John graduated in the first class of the College of Philadelphia, was apprenticed to Dr. John Redman, served as surgeon with the provincial troops, and went to England in 1760. He spent a year studying in London with Dr. John Fothergill and others, then went to Edinburgh, where he received the M.D. degree in 1763. After further study in Paris and Italy, he returned to America in 1765 and won adoption of his proposal for the establishment of a medical school in connection with the College of Philadelphia. He was thereupon appointed professor of the theory and practise of physic. Early in the American Revolution Congress appointed him director general of hospitals and physician-in-chief of the army. Increasing complaints against him—inspired as he believed by the jealousies of his subordinates—led to his removal from these posts early in 1777, and he thereafter confined himself to his work at the Hospital and Medical School and to his private practice. DAB; Whitfield J. Bell, John Morgan Continental Doctor (Phila., 1965).

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