Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Anthony Tissington, 30 August 1766

From Anthony Tissington5

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Alfreton 30th. Augt. 1766

Dear Sir

By this time I expect you are returned to London from your German Tour, which I hope has been pleasing to you, and usefull to Sir John Pringle.

By keeping out of the Smoak I was got pretty well by the 4th of July, when I left London; and a Journey into the North, from whence I am Just return’d, has set me right, and I am now as well as ever in my life: but my Wife6 continued very bad in Town, and since, tho’ the Prescriptions of Dr. Morrice[?]7 have been of great use to her.

I have still a great opinion of Dr. Dom [illegible]’s8 Practice of bathing and sta[r]ving; and think him very Ingenious, but not as Judicious as I could wish. He risques too much; and I think, if I had not interfered, and put a Stop to the Process, my Wife must have sunk under it: He aim’d at obtaining what Nature has prohibitted; and continued to persist in it, when He gave Pains nearly equall to those of Child Birth without Effects: But I still beleive, tho’ my Wife will not, that it has been of use to her; It forced the Blood thro’ the necessary passages, which gentle means wou’d not, perhaps, have obtain’d; and for the last fortnight, her pains have been less, and she is in the road to do well.

My Paper on the Mineral Customs,9 left [with Mrs.] Stephenson, I hope you’ve got. Mr. Ro[lles has] not yet proceeded against us;1 the Crown [torn] us; the Country in high Spirits; and [torn] shall at last do well.

When you’ve got over all that Arrears of Writing, which your absence must have created, I shall hope to hear from you; And when Heaven inspires you with the good Resolution of giving the greatest, friendly Pleasure, in your power; to see you here—’till when, and allways, I am with the greatest Esteem My Dear Friend Yours most Affectionately

Anth Tissington

Endorsed: Mr Tissington Augt. 30, 1766

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5For Tissington, who lived at Swanwick, near Alfreton, Derbyshire, and whose nomination to the Royal Society BF had recently supported, see above, VIII, 358; IX, 42 n.

6Anthony Tissington, widower, married Mrs. Margaret Bunting, July 14, 1763, at Alfreton. Derbyshire Parish Registers, Marriages, xv, 110.

7Possibly Michael Morris, M.D., F.R.S., of the Westminster Infirmary.

8A dark stain in the ms renders this name illegible.

9Tissington’s only known published writing was A Letter to a Friend on the Mineral Customs of Derbyshire. In which the Question Relative to the Claim of the Duty of Lot on Smitham is Occasionally Considered. By a Derbyshire Working Miner (London, 1766). A curious ms note in the British Museum copy reports the assertion in 1794 that BF had written the pamphlet while on a visit to Tissington. The author of the note, who signed it “A. W.,” put little stock in the assertion, which, as Albert H. Smyth pointed out, merely emphasizes the extent of BF’s scientific reputation. Writings, i, 56–7.

1In 1761 the Duke of Devonshire successfully asserted his right under the Crown to receive duties on smitham (or smeddum: ore in fine particles) and other low-grade lead ores in parts of Derbyshire; his success led a Mr. Rolles to assert, and later to establish, a similar right elsewhere in the county. James Pilkington, A View of the Present State of Derbyshire (Derby, 1789), i, 114.

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