From Michael Collinson4
AL: American Philosophical Society
Manchr. Buildgs Monday [March?, 1772]
Mr. Collinson’s very respectful Comp[limen]ts to Dr. Franklin and begs the favor of him to lay by Mr. Colden’s Essay which Mr. C. will do himself the pleasure of calling for some Morning5 there are also two little Volumes The Adventures of a Round headed Indian which if Dr. Franklin can without any trouble lay his hand upon Mr. C will take with him at the same time if not, it is of no Importance in the least.
4. For Peter Collinson’s only son see above, XIV, 214 n.
5. Although he was a theoretician of great note, Colden’s theories were so abstruse that none of his friends could understand them, as BF had politely told him years before: above, III, 80–1, 90–1. But the old man was undeterred. This time he had sent BF a paper by way of Collinson, who acknowledged it in a letter of March 11, 1772, and explained to Colden that BF was still busy after returning from his tour of Ireland and Scotland. The Letters and Papers of Cadwallader Colden, N.-Y. Hist. Soc. Coll., LVI (1923), 218, where the letter is misdated 1774. We suspect that Collinson’s explanation was inspired by BF as excuse for not reading what he had received, “An Inquiry in the Principles of Vital Motion,” written in 1763 and still in MS today among Colden’s papers (ibid., p. 367); for more than a year later BF still could not make head or tail of it. To Alexander Colden below, June 2, 1773.