Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Ingenhousz, 12 [May] 1778

From Ingenhousz

Letterbook abstract: Gemeente-Archief, Statserf, Breda

[May] 12 [17781]

To Dr. Franklin in passy that sir john should recommend in his case the [illegible] aethiopicum, if he could relay on the frensch making well the sal diureticus and reducing antimonie into an impalpable powder, but that [they?] faced this difficulty little. I acquaint him with my invention of kindling a candle by an electric explosion of a little vial; and of Dr. Priestley’s invention of reviving the ashes into charcoal again.2 I ask a new protection against the American Privateers. If Mr. Williams has not employed all the money in the trade I would employe it in the Loterie Royal; I ask him to speak about it to Mr. grand.3

1The page is headed “1778 Majus.”

2He was continuing to consult Sir John Pringle on BF’s health. We cannot identify Priestley’s experiment from this somewhat cryptic reference, but his interest in charcoal was long-standing and continued for years. Ingenhousz’s “invention” was submitted to the Royal Society the following July: “A ready Way of Lighting a Candle, by a very moderate Electrical Spark,” Phil. Trans., LXVIII, (1778), 1022–6.

3Ingenhousz had been investing for his brother in JW’s business dealings: above, XXV, 85. This abstract is immediately preceded by another, of a letter to Ferdinand Grand of the same date: JW has not used all the money, and Ingenhousz wants the rest to buy lottery tickets because their value has fallen.

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