Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to John Bartram, 9 July 1769

To John Bartram

ALS: Stanford University Libraries6

London July 9, 1769

Dear Friend,

It is with great Pleasure I understand by your Favour of April 10. that you continue to enjoy so good a Share of Health.7 I hope it will long continue. And altho’ it may not now be suitable for you [to make?] such wide Excursions as heretofore, you may yet be very useful to your Country and to Mankind, if you [sit?] down quietly at home, digest the Knowledge you [have] acquired, compile and publish the many Observations you have made, and point out the Advantages that may be drawn from the whole, in publick Undertakings or particular private Practice. It is true many People are fond of Accounts of old Buildings, Monuments, &c. but there is a Number who would be much better pleas’d with such Accounts as you could afford them: And for one I confess that if I could find in any Italian Travels a Receipt for making Parmesan Cheese, it would give me more Satisfaction than a Transcript of any Inscription from any old Stone whatever.

I suppose Mr. Michael Collinson, or Dr. Fothergill have written to you what may be necessary for your Information relating to your Affairs here. I imagine there is no doubt but the King’s Bounty to you will be continued; and that it will be proper for you to continue sending now and then a few such curious Seeds as you can procure to keep up your Claim. And now I mention Seeds, I wish you would send me a few of such as are least common, to the Value of a Guinea, which Mr. Foxcroft will pay you for me.8 They are for a particular Friend who is very curious. If in any thing I can serve you here, command freely Your affectionate Friend

B Franklin

P.S. Pray let me know whether you have had sent you any of the Seeds of the Rhubarb describ’d in the enclos’d Prints. It is said to be of the true kind [?]. If you have it not, I can procure some Seeds for you.9

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6The Harwood Family Papers, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections. For many years these MSS were on deposit with the Library of Congress; they were returned in 1969 to Mr. Wilson F. Harwood, from whom the Stanford Libraries acquired them.

7BF is responding to Bartram’s letter above, April 10, where the references are explained.

8Presumably John Foxcroft’s brother Thomas, the Philadelphia postmaster and a friend of the Franklin family; see above, XIV, 137. John Foxcroft did not return from England until the autumn of 1770, a fact that can be established from references to a loan BF made him; see BF, Journal, Aug. 17, 1770; Foxcroft to BF below, Jan. 14, 1771.

9Bartram accepted the offer, and BF sent him the seeds the following January. See Bartram to BF below, Nov. 29, 1769, and BF to Bartram, Jan. 11, 1770.

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