Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Joseph Priestley, 10 July 1782

From Joseph Priestley

ALS: University of Pennsylvania Library

Birmingham 10 July 1782

Dear Sir

I am far from meaning [to]6 trouble you with letters of recommendation for English Travellers. The bearer of this, Dr Stokes, is a promising young man, who will think himself happy in getting only a sight of you, and in this I hope you will have no objection to indulge him. I have given him letters to other persons, who, I hope, will shew him such civilities as may be useful to him.7

I hope you have received a letter I wrote to you lately, in answer to the [ver]y obliging one with which you favo[red me].8 The sun has hardly shone in [one word missing] country since, so that I have not been [a]ble to prosecute my late experiments and I am afraid that, in the political hemisphere, the gleam of sunshine [we] had some time ago, is almost leaving us. We who have no influence, must wait the issue, with as much patience as we can.

With the most perfect esteem I am Dear Sir Yours sincerely

J Priestley

Addressed: To / Dr Franklin / Paris9

Notation: Priestley 10. July 1782.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6The upper right and left margins of the MS are torn. We supply conjectural readings in brackets.

7Dr. Jonathan Stokes (1755–1831), a botanist, zoologist, and chemist, was embarking on a tour of the continent after completing his medical education at the University of Edinburgh, where he wrote a thesis developing a Linnaean classification of gases. In June, he delivered a paper attempting a similar classification of “earths” and metals. Stokes began his tour in Paris, where he had arranged to meet the younger Linnaeus. He continued on to various northern European cities before returning to London by mid-May, 1783, when he attended a meeting of the Royal Society as Priestley’s guest and joined Priestley as a member of the Lunar Society: Robert E. Schofield, The Lunar Society of Birmingham: a Social History of Provincial Science and Industry in Eighteenth-Century England (London, Glasgow, and New York, 1963), pp. [3], 223–6, 417–18.

8These letters, dated respectively June 24 and June 7, are above.

9Three sketches resembling axes and possibly a hoe appear on the verso of the address sheet.

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