Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to [Grey Cooper], [1764?–1775]

To [Grey Cooper]7

ALS: Frank Glenn, Kansas City, Missouri (1955)



I used to put two Ounces of Bark finely powdered into a Bottle of Wine, and let it stand 24 Hours, in which time it will have given to the Wine a sufficient Quantity of its Virtue, and the Powder itself will be pretty well subsided.9 When I had drank two or three Glasses out of the Bottle, I used to fill it up with fresh Wine, because the Bark will not give forth all its Virtue to the first Quantity of Wine, but continues communicating more as fresh Wine offers to receive it, so that on the whole I suppose I may have drank a Gallon of Wine off the first Quantity of Bark. Every time I pour’d out a Glass to drink, I us’d to shake the Bottle, generally not ’till I had fill’d my Glass; but sometimes before, when I felt any feverish Indisposition and chose to have some of the Substance of the Bark expecting thence greater or more speedy Effects. I am, Yours affectionately

B Franklin1

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7So identified because this letter was included in the sale of Sir Grey Cooper’s books and MSS, Oct. 11, 1802, where it was bought by a Mr. Waight; information supplied by the present owner, Mr. Frank Glenn. For Grey Cooper (c. 1726–1801), barrister, M.P., and governmental officer, see above, X, 185 n.

8This letter could have been written at almost any time during BF’s years in England. The friendship between the two men, begun during the first mission, appears to have become much closer during the later period; hence, partly because of the word “affectionately” with which the letter closes, it is placed with the earliest documents of that period.

9On BF’s use of an infusion of “bark” (Peruvian bark, or cinchona, containing quinine) during his illness in the autumn of 1757, see above, VII, 273.

1Accompanying this letter are two small slips of paper containing other prescriptions. One, in what appears to be Peter Collinson’s hand, reads: “Receipt for the Piles [?] from Sir John Pringle two or three Leaves of Moth Mullein put in to a Pint of Milk and kept on the Fire till reduced to half the Quantity which is to be taken at going to Bed.” The other, in an unidentified hand, reads: “equal quantities of Camimile Flowers and Valerian Root put into a tea Pot that holds about a pint, about a quarter of an ounce of each and let it stand till it is Cold. Mr. Rusts Receipt for the Stomach.” What connection, if any, these papers may have had with BF is not known.

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