Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to William Franklin, 3 February 1773

To William Franklin

AL (letterbook draft): Library of Congress

London, Feb. 3. 1773

Dear Son,

I send you herewith some Seeds, and shall send more for your Friends, by the Philad. Ships, by whom I shall write more fully. They are Peas of a valuable Sort, and the Turnip Cabbage which abides the Frost of Winter, and therefore of great Use as Feed in the Spring before any other appears. They were given me by our good Friend Mr. Todd.8

Yours of Oct. 29. Nov. 3. Dec. 1, and 4 are come to hand; but I hear nothing from Bristol concerning the Pork.9 I shall write thither about it.

I continue very well. Present my affectionate Respects to our good Friend Galloway. The Grant is not yet compleated. Love to Betsey. I am ever Your affectionate Father.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Turnip cabbage is kohlrabi, widely used for forage. Anthony Todd, who as secretary of the Post Office was in effect its head, seems to have been a go-between in delivering the seeds. The actual donor was Giovanni Francesco Fromond, a minor Lombard scientist who was in London at the time to perfect his training, and who subsequently returned to Milan as professor of optics and head of a laboratory of experimental physics. See Antonio Pace, Benjamin Franklin and Italy (Philadelphia, 1958), pp. 3–4, 36, 323. Almost three years after writing this letter BF mentioned that he had met Fromond in London and received the seeds from him, but by that time had forgotten what they were used for and how they were grown. To Philip Mazzei, Dec. 27, 1775, Dartmouth College Library.

9The letter of Oct. 29, the only one that survives, says nothing about WF’s gift of what must have been salt or pickled pork, which eventually arrived in a large consignment that was partly for BF and partly for John Sargent: BF to WF below, Feb. 14.

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