Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Benjamin Vaughan, 10 October 1779

From Benjamin Vaughan

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Oct. 10h., 1779.

My dearest sir,

Mr Thos. Oliver of Lowlayton, Mr Richd. Oliver’s Cousin & the partner of Mr Lovel, thinks it adviseable to send the inclosed;3 & as he seemed anxious about it, I did not prevent his satisfying his own mind & being also satisfied about my good wishes to the Alderman.

Being told that the Grenada people who went on Sunday, would take no letters I deferred preparing a copy of my analysis of Mr Crawford’s book, and am caught unawares by this opportunity. You may perhaps have the book itself, but not the other pacquet, at least without Mr Luard delays his departure.—4 By this time you will have received your own papers, all but a material sentence or two in the Addenda & Corrigenda, and a corrected plate of Cotopaxi, taken from Bouguer, who differs somewhat from Ulloa I find, but still more from the English translator of Ulloa who makes sad confusion & mistake, such as would have misled men more accurate than myself.—5 But I have a singular confirmation in the interim from Bouguer.

I am, as ever, my dearest sir, yours most devotedly & gratefully


Nothing worth telling occurs to me at present.

Notation: B Vaughn Oct 10. 79

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Probably Thomas Oliver’s letter of Oct. 8, above.

4Luard carried a letter of introduction from Digges and a packet of Vaughan’s (see their letters to BF, both of Oct. 8). His departure was delayed at least until the 12th, on which day Samuel Vaughan & Son (Benjamin’s father and probably his brother John: XXII, 71n) wrote, introducing Luard as a “Gentleman whom we have long known.” APS. See also Digges to BF, Oct. 12 and 30, below.

5Vaughan used an extensive bibliography for his commentary on BF’s paper on the aurora borealis (Political, Miscellaneous and Philosophical Pieces, pp. 510–30.) To establish the fact that clouds have been observed well above the congelation point on the tallest mountains, he drew on the works of Pierre Bouguer (1698–1758) and Antonio de Ulloa (1716–95). The plate he mentions (facing p. 522) is a reproduction of Bouguer’s view in La Figure de la terre … (Paris, 1749), facing p. cx, of the Peruvian volcano Cotopaxi and its adjacent mountains, to which he added a cloud and a grid showing height in both English and French measurements. To corroborate Bouguer’s observations, he referred the reader (on p. 522n) to the partially “misinterpreted” translation of Ulloa’s Relacion historica del viage a la América Meridional … (5 vols., Madrid, 1748), published in London as A Voyage to South America … (2 vols., 1758).

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