Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Francois Willem de Monchy, 4 November 1766

From François Willem de Monchy9

ALS:1 American Philosophical Society

Rotterdam the 4 Nov. 1766.

Honour’d sir

With no small pleasure did I recive your kind letter of the 23 Oct.2 where for I am much oblig’d to you.

I confess, that the care you have taken of my friends commission is very great,3 and that I do’nt know any think to recompence it.

Being come home last week from England, I have spoken with my friend and shew’d him your letter, who like wise return’d his thanks to you, at the same time he ask’d me to write you about the following questions.

1° How much the Iron Cylinder 30.9 Inch in Diam. 110. 0 Inch in Length and 00. 5? Inch in Thickness Cost?4

2° How much the same Cylinder made of brass?

3° How much a Cylinder 30.9 Inch in diam. 80. 0 Inch. in Length and 00. 3? Inch. in Thickness?5

4° How much the saem and made of brass?

5° How much the bottom and sucker[?] ?6

6° How much the whole machine without pumps, Iron, and wooden Pipes?

7° How much the same made of brass?

My father desir’d his Compliments to you. I am with great estime Honour’d Sir, Your most humble and Obedient servant

F: W DE Monchy

P.S. Pray give my compliments to Sir John Pringle, and tell him if you please that I will not fail to write him with the next post.7

Mr. B. Franklin

Addressed: To / Dr. B. Franklin at Mrs. Stevenson / Craven Street / in / London

Endorsed: De Monchy Queries concg. Fire Engin[e]

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9François Willem de Monchy (1749–1796), medical student at Leyden, 1766–74, and later physician at Rotterdam, was elected, 1775, a member of the Batavian Society for Experimental Philosophy, of which his father, Solomon de Monchy (1716–1794) was an original member. P.C. Molhuysen and J.P. Blok, Nieuw Nederlandisch Biografisch Woerdenboek, i (Leyden, 1911), cols. 1342–3. BF and Pringle had certainly met both men in Rotterdam during the summer of 1766.

1Following some of the questions and at the bottom of the page are numerous notations in BF’s hand of data to be used in his reply. Most of these notations are so faint as to be indecipherable; others can be read only with difficulty and uncertainty. Whatever can be read with reasonable confidence is indicated below in footnotes.

2Not found.

3Neither the identity of the friend nor the precise nature of his commission is known. From the questions in this letter and from BF’s endorsement it seems probable that BF had supplied some information about Matthew Boulton’s experimental steam (“fire”) engine; see above, pp. 166–8, 196–7.

4A note by BF begins: “24s. per Cwt.” The rest of the note is illegible.

5A note seems to read: “24s. per Cwt.”

6A note reads: “16s. per Cwt.”

7At the bottom of the page are two columns of notes. While a few words in the left-hand column can be read, too much is illegible to permit any useful reconstruction of the whole. The right-hand column is clearer and seems to consist of a tabulation of the costs of the parts of the steam engine and its house. It appears to read as follows, with the breaks between lines indicated here by slant lines: “Cylynder £35 / Beam 10 [these two lines joined by a brace followed by or £50] / Boiler of Iron 84 / Copper cheaper in the End / Regulator and other Pipes 40 / Leaden Cistern for Injection 10 / 184 / House 100.”

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