Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Joseph Priestley, 20 March 1768

From Joseph Priestley

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Leeds. 20 March 1768.

Dear Sir

I hope you will excuse the liberty I take of enclosing to you two copies of a paper I wanted to send to Dr. Kippis and Mr. Price, 3 and beg the favour of your transmitting them the first convenient opportunity. Do not imagine, from the nature of this paper, that I am deserting philosophy. I am now chiefly employed in perusing the books you sent me in High Dutch, 4 in order to prepare for the second edition of my history of electricity, and I find this a very tedious business; for I find I have lost a great part of the knowledge I had acquired of that language, before my last journey to London, but I make no doubt that attention and perseverance will recover it. I am at present reading the history of electricity written by D. Gralath of Dantzig.5 I am, with the greatest respect Dear Sir Your most obliged humble servant

J Priestley

Addressed: To / Doctor B Franklin / at Mrs Stephenson’s Craven Street / in the Strand London

Endorsed: Dr. Priestly  Mar 20. 68

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Priestley’s An Essay on the First Principles of Government; and on the Nature of Political, Civil and Religious Liberty was advertised as just published in the London Chron., April 7–9, and was reviewed by Kippis in the Monthly Review; or Literary Journal XXXIX (Dec., 1768), 468–74. Dr. Andrew Kippis (1725–95) was a distinguished clergyman and biographer; from 1753 until his death he was pastor of the Presbyterian church in Princes Street, Westminster, but is best known for his opinionated editorial work on the Biographia Britannica. DNB. For Dr. Richard Price, the even more distinguished dissenting minister, author, and champion of America, see above, XI, 100 n.

4I.e., German.

5Daniel Gralath (1708–67), Polish scientist, whose “Geschichte der Electricität” was published in Versuche und Abhandlungen der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft in Dantzig, I (1747), 175–304, 506–34; II (1754), 355–460; III (1756), 492–556.

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