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452. TO ABBé CHAPPE" (A. P. S.)
London, Jan. 31. I768 SIR
I sent you sometime since, directed to the Care of M. Molini, a Bookseller near the Quay des Augustins a Tooth that I mention'd to you when I had the Pleasure of meeting with you at the Marquis de Courtanvaux’s.” It was found near the River Ohio in America, about 200 Leagues below Fort du Quesne, at what is called the Great Licking Place, where the Earth has a Saltish Taste that is agreable to the Buffaloes & Deer, who come there at certain Seasons in great Numbers to lick the same. At this Place have been found the Skeletons of near 30 large Animals suppos'd to be Elephants, several Tusks like those of Elephants, being found with these Grinder Teeth — Four of these Grinders were sent me by the Gentleman * who brought them from the Ohio to New York, together with 4 Tusks, one of which is 6 Feet long & in the thickest Part near 6 Inches Diameter, and also one of the Vertebrae — My Lord Shelbourn receiv'd at the same time 3 or four of them with a Jaw Bone & one or two Grinders remaining in it. Some of Our Naturalists here, however, contend, that these are not the Grinders of Elephants but of some carnivorous Animal unknown, because such Knobs or Prominences on the Face of the Tooth are not to be found on those of Elephants, and only, as they say, on those of carnivorous Animals. But it appears to me that Animals capable of carrying such large & heavy Tusks, must themselves be large Creatures, too bulky to have the Activity necessary for pursuing and taking Prey; and therefore I am inclin’d to think those Knobs are only a small Variety, Animals of the same kind and Name often differing more materially, and that those Knobs might be as useful to grind the small branches of Trees, as to chaw Flesh — However I should be glad to have your Opinion, and to know from you whether any of the kind have been found in Siberia. With great Esteem & Respect, I am Sir Your most obed' hum’
1 Abbé Chappe D'Auteroche (1722–1769), astronomer and author of “Voyage en Sibérie” (1768). He was sent to Tobolsk to observe the transit of Venus (1761). — ED.
2 François-César Le Tellier, Marquis de Courtanvaux, Duc de Doudeauville (1718–1781), member of the Academy of Sciences (1764), soldier and scientist. — ED.
* George Croghan. See F.'s letter to him, August 5, 1767. —ED.
453. TO PERE BERTHIER (A. P. S.)
London, Jan. 31, 1768. REv. SIR,
With cordial Thanks for your many Civilities to me when in Paris, I take this Opportunity of acquainting you, that your Certificate has been received by the Royal Society, and ordered to be hung up the usual Time which is ten Meetings; but it was observed to be deficient in not mentioning your Christian Name, without which it is not reckon'd regular. I therefore pray you would send me that Name, to be inserted in the Certificate; in order to remove the Objection. – With great Esteem & Respect, I am
1 Joseph-Etienne Berthier (1702–1783), scientist, author of “Histoire des premiers temps du Monde, d'accord avec la physique et l’histoire de Moise” (1777). He was elected F.R.S., June 2, 1768. He replied to Franklin with the following letter (A. P. S.), dated “a Paris ce 27 Fev. 1769.” — ED.
MONSIEUR, Vous m'avez fait grand plaisir de m'adresser M. le Capitaine Houry. Vous m'avez donné l'occasion de vous marquer ma reconnaissance, mon attachement et mon estime, et de rendre les services dont je suis capable a un homme de mérite et bien aimable. Pour couroner l'oeuvre, il faudroit faire encore un voyage en France. C'est votre pays autant que l'angleterre, vous y J'étois frankliniste sans le savoir, maintenant que je le sais je ne manquerai pas de citer l'auteur de ma secte.
Sir John Pringle desires Rev" Sir to be remembered to you Your most obliged with Respect — & obed' hum' Serv"
I sent you some time since, Priestly’s History of Electricity, under the Care of Mr. Molini, Bookseller on the Quay des Augustins. I hope it got safe to Paris, and that you have receiv'd it. I wish the Reading of it may renew your Taste for that Branch of Philosophy, which is already so greatly indebted to you, as being the first of Mankind, that had the Courage to attempt drawing Lightning from the Clouds to be subjected to your Experiments." seriez au milieu des Franklinistes. Un père est dans son pays quand le pays est habité parses enfants. Continuez, je vous en prie, de m'adresser des gens de mérite et de m'honorer de vos commissions.
Jesuis avec respect, Monsieur,
Votre très humble et obéissant serviteur A Paris ce 27 Fev. 1769. (signed) BERTIER FRANKLINISTE
1 See Introduction, Vol. I, p. 98. —ED.
In our Return home," We were detained a Week at Calais, by contrary Winds, and stormy Weather, which was the more mortifying to me, when I reflected that I might have enjoy’d Paris and my Friends there all that Time, and yet have been as soon at London.
As I became in Arrear with my Business by so long an Absence, I have been necessarily much occupied since my Return, and have therefore postpon’d from time to time (and so long that I am now ashamed of it) the Purpose I had of writing soon to you, to express the Sense I have of your Kindness to me when a Stranger at Paris, and of the many Civilities I receiv'd from you there and from Mrs. Dalibard, which I assure you have made a lasting Impression on my Memory. I beg you will both of you accept my sincerest Thanks and Acknowledgments. The Time I spent in Paris, and in the improving Conversation and agreable Society of so many learned and ingenious Men, seems now to me like a pleasing Dream, from which I was sorry to be awaked by finding myself again at London.
With the greatest Esteem and best Wishes for your Health and Happiness, I have the Honour to be,
Dear Sir, &c.
455. TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN’
London, February 13, 1768. MY DEAR CHILD,
I received your kind letter by Captain Story, of November 19th, and a subsequent one by Captain Falconer without date. I have received also the Indian and buckwheat meal, that they brought from you, with the apples, cranberries, and nuts, for all which I thank you. They all prove good, and the apples were particularly welcome to me and my friends, as there happens to be scarce any of any kind in England this year. We are much obliged to the captains, who are so good as to bring these things for us, without charging any thing for their trouble. I am much concerned for my dear sister's loss of her daughter. It was kind in you to write a letter of condolence. I have also written to her on the occasion. I am not determined about bringing Sally over with me, but am obliged to you for the kind manner in which you speak of it, and possibly I may conclude to do it.” I am sorry you had so much trouble with that Nelson. By what is now said of her here, she did not deserve the notice you took of her, or that any credit should be given to her stories. I am afraid she has made mischief in my family by her falsehoods. I think your advice good, not to help any one to servants. I shall never be concerned in such business again; I never was lucky in it. My love to all our relations and friends, and to Mr. and Mrs. Duffield, and to Mrs. Redman. I am much pleased with her daughter's writing, particularly for its correctness. I am now, and have been all this winter, in very good health, thanks to God. I only once felt a little admonition, as if a fit of the gout would attack me, but it did not. Whether sick or well, I am ever, my dear Debby, your affectionate husband, B. FRANKLIN.
* From France to England. —ED. * First printed by Sparks.