To Rudolph Erich Raspe1
ALS: Landesbibliothek, Kassel
Göttingen, July 21. 1766
I had a Bill on Messrs. Michael David, & Fils,2 for 526 ⅓ Reichs Thalern. I receiv’d 50 Ducats in Specie, and a Bill on Franckfurth for 134 Ducats, making in all but 184 Ducats. I request the Favour of Monsr. Raspè to speak of it to Monsr. David, and to get the Mistake rectified, receiving and retaining in his Hands the Money still due to me, to pay for such Books as he may hereafter send3 to his Humble Servant
1. Rudolph Erich Raspe (1737–1794), whom BF had met at Hanover in July (see above, p. 315), was at this time librarian of the Royal Library at Hanover and a member of the Academy of Science at Gottingen. In 1767 he was appointed keeper of the Landgrave of Hesse’s collection of antique gems and medals as well as professor at the Collegium Carolinum at Cassel. Because of the discovery of his thefts from the Landgrave’s collection, he fled Germany for England in 1775. There he published various works on science and travel and became assay master at the Cornish mines; on the darker side, because of his misadventures in Germany he was expelled from the Royal Society to which he had been elected in 1769. In 1785 he published anonymously the collection of Baron Munchausen’s travels, a famous anthology of tall tales. DNB; John Carswell, The Prospector Being the Life and Times of Rudolph Erich Raspe (1737–1794) (London, 1950); Rudolph Hallo, Rudolph Erich Raspe Ein Wegbereiter von Deutscher Art und Kunst (Stuttgart, 1934).
2. A well-known Hanover banking house. See Robert L. Kahn, “Three Franklin-Raspe Letters,” APS Procs., xcix (1955), 397.
3. See below, p. 407.