Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to John Bartram, 22 August 1772

To John Bartram

ALS: Central Library, Salford, England; draft: American Philosophical Society

London, Aug. 22. 1772

My dear old Friend,

I received your kind Letter of May 10. I am glad the Rhubarb Seed got safe to hand. I make no doubt of its Thriving well in our Country, where the Climate is the same with that of the Chinese Wall, just without which it grows in plenty and of the best Quality.8 I shall be glad to know how you find the Turnips. I ask’d Solander about the Lucern Seed you wrote for. He could give me no Account of it, nor can I learn any thing of it from others. You may rely on my Friendship in recommending your Seeds. I send all that enquire of me about American Seeds to Mr. Freeman.9 He should advertise them when they come. I hear nothing lately of Young, and think him not of much Consequence.1 With Love to Mrs. Bartram and your Children, I am ever, my dear Friend, Yours most affectionately


Addressed: To / Mr John Bartram / near / Philadelphia / per Capt Falconer

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8For BF’s and Bartram’s interest in the cultivation of rhubarb see above, XVI, 173, 261; XVII, 22. Chinese rhubarb was particularly esteemed: above, IX, 398.

9James Freeman, Dr. Fothergill’s nephew, had assumed responsibility for distributing the seeds that Bartram was sending to England. See above, XVI, 250.

1William Young was in Bartram’s opinion an upstart rival, who was trying to supersede him in royal favor; and BF was repeating a reassurance that he had given the year before. See above, respectively, XVII, 290; XVIII, 180. Reassurance was needed, for Young had come to England the previous autumn with a collection of botanical specimens for the King and Queen. Pa. Gaz., Nov. 21, 1771.

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