Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Thomas Bond, 16 March 1780

To Thomas Bond

Reprinted from William Temple Franklin, ed., The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin LL.D. F.R.S. &c. … (2nd ed.; 2 vols., London, 1817), I, 59–60.

Passy, March 16, 1780.

Dear Sir,

I received your kind letter of September the 22d,1 and I thank you for the pleasing account you give me of the health and welfare of my old friends, Hugh Roberts, Luke Morris, Philip Syng, Samuel Rhoades, &c. with the same of yourself and family. Shake the old ones by the hand for me, and give the young ones my blessing. For my own part, I do not find that I grow any older. Being arrived at 70, and considering that by travelling further in the same road I should probably be led to the grave, I stopped short, turned about and walked back again; which having done these four years, you may now call me 66. Advise those old friends of ours to follow my example, keep up your spirits and that will keep up your bodies, you will no more stoop under the weight of age than if you had swallowed a handspike. But it is right to abate a little in the article of labour; and therefore as your demonstrations of midwifery “are useful, and it is a pity you should give them up, for want of subjects in the lying-in wards,” I advise you to get some of your young pupils to help you.

I am glad the Philosophical Society made that compliment to Mr. Gerard. I wish they would do the same to Mr. Feutry, a worthy gentleman here;2 and to Dr. Ingenhausz, who has made some great discoveries lately respecting the leaves of trees in improving air for the use of animals: he will send you his book.3 He is physician to the Empress Queen. I have not yet seen your piece on inoculation.4

Remember me respectfully and affectionately to Mrs. Bond, your children, and all friends. I am ever, Yours,

B. Franklin.

P.S. I have bought some valuable books which I intend to present to the society; but shall not send them till safer times.5

To Dr. Bond, Philadelphia. Letter of Friendship.

1Probably Bond’s of Sept. 24, 1779, which gives news of BF’s old friends and raises the other subjects discussed in the present letter: XXX, 394–6.

2The poet Aimé (Amé)-Ambroise-Joseph Feutry, who had composed an ode for BF’s 1779 Independence Day banquet: XXX, 45.

3Jan Ingenhousz in November, 1779, had sent BF his Experiments upon Vegetables …, which explained his discovery of photosynthesis: XXXI, 122n, 140n. Ingenhousz was elected to membership in the APS, but not until 1786. Information kindly supplied by Whitfield J. Bell, Jr.

4See XXX, 395.

5Possibly the nine volumes of the Arts et Métiers, for which BF had paid the abbé Morellet 126 l.t. on Nov. 7, 1779: XXXI, 4; Cash Book.

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