Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Jacques Barbeu-Dubourg, 4 May 1773

To Jacques Barbeu-Dubourg

Translated extract: printed in Jacques Barbeu-Dubourg., Œuvres de M. Franklin … (2 vols., Paris, 1773), II, 312.

4 Mai 1773.

Ce jeune Docteur est mort, et toutes les notes qu’il avoit faites de ses curieuses expériences ont été perdues par je ne sçais quel accident entre nos amis le Chevalier Jean Pringle, et le Docteur Huck; mais il paroit que ces Messieurs, s’ils ne retrouvent pas les papiers, comptent répéter les expériences eux-mêmes. …1

1The young doctor was William Stark, who had starved himself to death more than three years before: above, XVI, 162 n. For the experiments with perspiration that he had carried out before his death see BF to Dubourg above, March 10. Dr. Richard Huck (above, XV, 172 n) and Sir John Pringle apparently never did find the reports of those experiments and, as far as we know, never repeated them. They are not mentioned in the posthumous volume of Stark’s writings: James Carmichael Smyth, ed., The Works of the Late William Stark, M.D. … (London, 1788).

Dubourg appended to the extract a puzzling note: “Exoriare aliquis … Virg.” The quotation is from the Aeneid, IV, 625–9, part of Dido’s curse that called down fire and sword on the departing Trojans. The relevance of this resounding imprecation, either to Stark or to Huck and Pringle, eludes us.

Index Entries