Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to John Canton, 25 August 1769

To John Canton2

ALS: The Royal Society

Craven street, Aug. 25. 1769

Dear Sir

When I was at Paris about 10 Days since, I was told that a Comet was then visible with a Tail of considerable Length. If it has not been yet observed or heard of here, perhaps this little Notice may be agreable to you. I return’d but last Night, I hope you and yours are well; being very sincerely Your affectionate Friend and Servant

B Franklin

I think it was said to be in some Part of the Bull,3 and in its Progress towards the Sun. M. Monnier discover’d4 and observ’d it.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2See above, IV, 390 n.

3I.e., Taurus. The comet was also observed in late August in London and in Philadelphia: London Chron., Aug. 29–31, 1769; DF to BF below, Aug. 31, and Pa. Chron., Aug. 28–Sept. 4, 1769.

4Pierre Charles LeMonnier (1715–99) was an eminent astronomer and member of the Académie des sciences. The discovery of the comet, however, is generally attributed to another French astronomer, Charles Messier (1730–1817): London Chron., Aug. 24–26, 1769; Joseph-Jérôme le Français de la Lande, “Mémoire sur la comète de 1769,” Histoire de l’Académie royale des sciences …, LXXI (for 1769; Paris, 1772), 49–58 (2d pagination).

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