Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from François Willem de Monchy, 15 May 1767

From François Willem de Monchy

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Rotterdm 15 May 1767.

Dr. Franklin

My Father joins me in compliments and thanks for the trouble you have had in procuring such accurate information concerning the Fire Engine, and also for inquiring about the microscopes which at length I have recieved.3

Agreeable to your desire I have send you two drawings of an Ice-boat.4 That without the mast is in the proportion of an Inch to a foot, and that with the mast but the half of that proportion otherwise we could not have brought it within the compass of the paper. You would have had it much sooner, had not the death of my deaer Mother prevented me from fininching my part of the drawing. The model without the mast was done by the ship-builder of the Admiralty, the other by my self under his direction. I shipped it yesterday on board the King George sloop, Capt. Harper, who lives in Queen’s Court St. Katherines and promised to take great care of them.5 I shall give him a letter to put into the penny post, which, when you recieve you will know he is arrived and may send for the parcel, for I believe they will not send it home. I find it will be opened at the Custom house, but I don’t think they can sieze it. If the[y] should you have interest enought to get it again.

I shall be glad of a line to let me know you have recieved it, and how you like it, and if there is any think here I can further serve you in on this side the water, you may freely command Sir Your very obliged humble Servant

F. W: DE Monchy.

P.S. Pray give my compliments to Sir John Pringle and Dr. Ingenhuse.6

Addressed: To / Dr. Benjamin Franklin at / Mrs. Stevenson’s Craven street / near Charing Cross / London.

Endorsed: Monchy

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3On these matters see above, XIII, 484–5; and this volume, pp. 3–5.

4BF appears to have asked Monchy for scale drawings of an iceboat of the type used on the Dutch canals. Although Monchy here uses both the words “drawing” and “model,” it seems probable that he was using them interchangeably, not that he was sending both pictorial representations on paper and three-dimensional scaled constructions of wood or other material. The scale drawings he did send are reproduced here, though necessarily much reduced from the scale mentioned in the letter.

5London Chron., May 23–26, 1767, reported: “Last Saturday [May 23] arrived in the Thames the King George, John Harper, from Rotterdam.” St. Katherine’s by the Tower was a royal hospital, college, or chapel founded in 1148 by Queen Matilda, and rechartered by Queen Elizabeth. It stood just to the east of the Tower in the area in which St. Katherine’s Docks were opened in 1828.

6For Dr. John Ingenhousz, see above, p. 4 n.

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