Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Guillaume Grivel, 11 April 1783

From Guillaume Grivel5

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Paris le 11 avril 1783.


Une incommodité Subite Survenue à M Canolle6 ne lui a point permit d’aller chercher lui même la lettre que vous avez bien voulu lui promettre pour Londres.7 Comme il espere pourtant que Son mal n’aura pas de Suite, il m’engage à vous prier d’avoir la bonté de la lui faire passer ici par la petite poste ce Sera une nouvelle obligation qu’il vous aura, et dont il vous Sera infiniment reconnoissant.

Permettez moi de me Servir de cette occasion, pour me renouveller dans votre souvenir et de vous assurer de l’estime très respectueuse avec laquelle J’ai l’honneur d’être Monsieur Votre très humble et très obéissant Serviteur


l’adresse de M Canolle est chez M Garez rue de Verneuil fb. st germain
M Franklin Ministre des Etats unis

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5This is the only extant letter from Grivel (1735–1810), an author who published on a wide range of topics and who, at BF’s suggestion, was elected a member of the APS in 1786: DBF; Larousse; BF’s “List of Persons to be Recommended for Members of P. Society” (undated, Library of Congress); APS membership records.

6According to the DBF, Canolle discovered peat bogs and coal deposits in the Limosin and went to England to study methods of extraction. On his return he set up a factory to make peat charcoal briquettes and in February, 1784, sought exclusive rights to his manufacturing process: DBF, under his son Jean de Canolle. We presume that at the time of the present letter Canolle was preparing to embark on the trip mentioned above. He had already demonstrated the advantageous burning properties of his substance (whatever combination of materials it was) to BF, who evidently approved; see Hutton to BF, May 2. In 1787 a scientific committee found Canolle’s manufacturing process worthy of encouragement, but not a significant enough advance to merit a privilège exclusif: Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier, Œuvres (6 vols., Paris, 1862–93), IV, 462–7.

7According to Hutton’s May 2 letter, BF recommended Canolle to the geologist John Whitehurst, whose expertise in coal was well known. That letter is missing.

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