Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from William Brownrigg, 12 June 1772

From William Brownrigg9

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Ormathwaite1 12. June 1772.

Dear Sir

I have this moment received a letter from Sir John Pringle, in which he is pleased to acquaint me that he shortly intends me the favour of a visit; that you accompany him to Leeds, and may possibly come with him so far as this place. I have great reason to beleive that you will not very willingly part from Sir John on this excursion, or he from you; I should be sorry that either by any accident or business you should be separated; and shall esteem myself highly obliged by the favour of your company along with my good friend, who I have requested to join his more powerful sollicitations to mine on this occasion, and hope he will prevail.2 I am, with perfect esteem, Dear Sir your very faithful, and most obedient Servant,

W Brownrigg.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9A distinguished physician, experimental chemist, and F.R.S. (1711–1800), who was particularly noted for his investigation of firedamp and other gases. DNB; Edward H. Davidson, “Franklin and Brownrigg,” Amer. Literature, XXIII (1951–52), 39–45. He had also published, in 1748, On the Art of Making Common Salt, which BF had recommended to friends (above, XI, 88); but this note seems to have been the first contact between the two men. For their subsequent relationship see below, Jan. 27 and Nov. 7, 1773.

1His family home near Keswick.

2BF left for his northern tour on or soon after June 17, and was back in London before the middle of July; see BF to DF below, July 14. He and Pringle did visit Brownrigg at Ormathwaite, where the three experimented with the effect of oil on calming the waves of Derwent Water. See Davidson, op. cit., pp. 39, 45–7, 51–4. BF had long been interested in this effect of oil; see above, X, 158–60, and BF to Brownrigg below, Nov. 7, 1773.

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