Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to John Morgan, 8 July 1765

To John Morgan4

ALS: American Philosophical Society

London, July 8. 1765

Dear Doctor

It rejoices me to hear that you got well home, and that you are like to succeed in your Scheme of establishing a Medical School in Philadelphia.5

Being told by Da Costa, Clerk to the Society,6 that no one appear’d who would pay your Admission Fees, and that you would not be consider’d as a Member nor your Name put in the List till that was done, I immediately paid him the Money, Five Guineas; Mr. Powel has since called on me and repaid me.7 You may now go on paying 50s. per annum (or two Guineas and a half, I forget which) or pay £20 (or Guineas) down, which excuses you from all future Payments. Most of the Members pay yearly.

With this you will receive the Statutes of the College from Dr. Watson.8 He desires me to tell you that they are not to be bought, but are given to the Members. He sends you his, and will get another for himself. I am, Affectionately yours,

B Franklin

Dr Morgan

Endorsed: from Dr Franklin July the 8. 1765

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4On Dr. John Morgan, see above, IX, 374 n.

5Within a few days after Morgan had arrived in Philadelphia following his years of study and travel in the British Isles and the Continent, the trustees of the College of Philadelphia, meeting on May 3, 1765, unanimously elected him professor of the theory and practice of medicine and considered favorably warm recommendations “from Persons of Eminence in England” for his plan to establish medical schools at the College. Pa. Gaz., May 9, 1765; Montgomery, Hist. Univ. Pa., pp. 479–80. He delivered an oration on his proposal at the Commencement on May 30 and 31; above, p. 153 n; Pa. Gaz., June 6, 1765; Whitfield J. Bell, Jr., John Morgan Continental Doctor (Phila., [1965]), pp. 116–28.

6Emanuel Mendes da Costa was clerk of the Royal Society; see below, p. 220 n.

7Pa. Gaz., June 6, 1765, carried the news from London that on March 7 the Royal Society had elected Morgan, “an eminent Physician and curious Anatomist,” a fellow. Samuel Powel (1739–1793) was a close friend of Morgan and his traveling companion on the Continent in 1763–64. He remained in England until 1767 before returning to Philadelphia; he became mayor of the city in 1775. PMHB, X (1886), 43–50; XVIII (1894), 39–40; Carl and Jessica Bridenbaugh, Rebels and Gentlemen Philadelphia in the Age of Franklin (N.Y., [1942]), pp. 207–12.

8After passing the required examinations, Morgan had been elected a licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians of London on Feb. 9, 1765, sponsored by Dr. William Watson (above, III, 457 n), who had also sponsored his election to the Royal Society. Bell, John Morgan, pp. 102–3.

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