Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Humphrey Senhouse, 25 January 1765

From Humphrey Senhouse5

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Carlisle Jan: 25th. 1765


Your very extraordinary Discoveries and Improvements in Electricity have determined me, though an utter Stranger to you, to take the Liberty of asking whether you think any Benefit might arise to me from the Application of the Electrical Machine in my unfortunate Case.

In the Year 1746, and in the fifteenth of my Age I had the Small-Pox, and from that Time to this have been troubled with a gradually increasing Deafness, insomuch that at present I am in a great Measure deprived of the Pleasures of Conversation. If you think the Experiment could be made without Hazard, and with Probability of Success, I would not scruple to repair forthwith to you, or to whomsoever you would recommend to me for that Purpose. If these Lines [are] so happy as to reach your Hands I shall be greatly [obliged?] to you for a speedy Answer,6 and a [Letter?] directed to Major Senhouse in Carlisle [torn; about four words missing] out, Sir, [torn] most obedient and humble Servant

Hum: Senhouse

Addressed: [To] / Dr. Benjamin Franklin / of Philadelphia / in / London

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Humphrey Senhouse (1731–1814), B.A., Cambridge, 1753; M.A., 1756; fellow of Pembroke College, was the son of Humphrey Senhouse (1706–1770) of Netherhall, Cumberland, alderman and mayor of Carlisle. Prevented by deafness from entering the church, young Senhouse managed the family estates and pursued his interests in local archaeology, coal mining, and politics. He was brought into Parliament by Sir James Lowther, sitting for Cockermouth, 1786–90, and Cumberland, 1790–96. He was also colonel of the militia. The best account of the Senhouse family is in Edward Hughes, North Country Life in the Eighteenth Century, II (London, 1965), 83–9, 263–5, 293–314. See also Namier and Brooke, House of Commons, III, 421.

6See below, p. 29.

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