Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to John Bartram, 14 February 1765

To John Bartram

ALS: University of Pennsylvania Library

London, Feb. 14. 1765

Dear Friend,

I received your kind Letter of Decemr 19.1 Our Friend Peter2 is not dead, as you apprehended; but, Thanks to Heaven, as well as ever I knew him, hearty, brisk, and active as a Youth. I show’d him your Letter, and he told me he had wrote to you, and that you must have been long before this time put out of your Pain on his Account. I have order’d the Box of Seeds to Edinburgh, and shall take care to satisfy our Friend for the same.3 He has wrote you all the News of the Reception your Present to the King met with. I hear from other Hands that it was much lik’d.4 I pray for a Continuance of your Health, that you may be able to perform the great Journey, if it should be concluded on.5 In the pleasing Expectation of a happy Meeting with you after your Return, hearing your curious and judicious Observations, and enjoying your agreable and instructive Conversation, I remain, Dear Friend Yours affectionately

B Franklin

Mr Bartram

1Not found.

2Peter Collinson.

3Bartram was collecting seeds for the botanical garden at Edinburgh at the request, relayed through BF, of Dr. John Hope (above, X, 16 n), professor of botany at the University of Edinburgh. Darlington, Memorials, p. 266. Bartram had probably sent the box of seeds in care of Collinson, and BF was promising to repay the latter’s expenses.

4On Sept. 23, 1764, Bartram wrote Collinson that he was sending him a box of “new discovered specimens” of plants as a present for the King. It was not entirely a matter of coincidence, then. that on April 9, 1765, Collinson wrote back that Bartram had been appointed botanist to the King at a salary of £50 per annum. Darlington, Memorials, pp. 266, 268. BF had also urged on Collinson, Sept. 24, 1764, that “some Notice may be taken of John’s Merit.” Above, XI, 353.

5From the summer of 1765 well into 1766 Bartram was traveling in North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, all the while collecting plants and describing the fauna and flora. Ernest Earnest, John and William Bartram (Phila., 1940), pp. 99–103.

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