To Thomas-François Dalibard
Draft: American Philosophical Society
London Jan. 31. 1768
I sent you sometime since, Priestly’s History of Electricity, under the Care of Mr. Molini, Bookseller on the Quay des Augustins; I hope it got safe to Paris, and that you have receiv’d it.7 [I w]ish the Reading of it may renew your Taste for that Branch of Philosophy, which is already so greatly indebted to you, as being the first of [Man?] kind that had the Courage to attempt drawing Lightning from the Clouds to be subjected to your Experiments. In our Return home, We were detained a Week at Calais, by contrary Winds and Stormy Weather, which was the more mortifying to me, when I reflected that I might have enjoy’d Paris and my Friends there all that Time, and yet have been as soon at London.
As I became in Arrears with my Business by so long an Absence, I have been necessarily much occupied since my Return, and have therefore postpon’d from time to time, (and so long that I am now ash[amed of it]) the Purpose I had of writing soon to you [torn] the [torn] Sense I have of your Kindness to [me who was a] Stranger at Paris, and of the many Civilities I receiv’d from you there and from Mrs. Dalibard, which I assure you have made a lasting Impression on my Memory. I beg you will both of you accept my sincerest Thanks and Acknowledgements. The Time I spent in Paris, and in the improving Conversation and agreable Society of so many learned and ingenious Men, seems now to me like a pleasing Dream, from which I was sorry to be awaked by [fin]ding my self again at London. With the greatest Esteem and best Wishes for your Health and Happiness, I have the Honour to be Dear Sir Your obliged and most obedient humble Servant
7. For Molini see the preceding document. The book was The History and Present State of Electricity, with Original Experiments, by Joseph Priestley (London, 1767). It and this letter were acknowledgments of the Dalibards’ hospitality to BF during his and Sir John Pringle’s visit to Paris the previous autumn. Although that visit was BF’s first meeting with the distinguished French physicist and botanist, Dalibard (1703–99) was an acquaintance by letter of many years’ standing. See above, IV, 302 n and passim, V, VI, and X, passim.