Mr. Franklin: A Selection from His Personal Letters

By Leonard W. Labaree; Benjamin Franklin et al. | Go to book overview
being a truly unnatural and mischievous one: but we have nothing to expect from Submission but Slavery, and Contempt. I am everYour affectionate FatherLove to dear Sally and the B. F[ranklin] Children.
*How much more then may be done by the superior Frugality and Industry of the Men?

A SCIENTIST TURNS POLITICIAN

JAN INGENHOUSZ, a Dutch-born doctor of medicine and physicist, lived for some years in England before he became body physician to the Emperor of Austria at Vienna in 1769. During his English residence he and Franklin, both interested in scientific matters, struck up a friendship which they continued by correspondence almost to the end of Franklin's life. Most of their letters dealt with topics in the field of "philosophy," as science was then generally called, and even during the Revolution Ingenhousz kept Franklin posted on the latest developments which came to his attention in Vienna. Franklin, of course, was much too busy to indulge his own love for scientific experimentation during his years as minister to France, where he arrived late in 1776, but he welcomed his friend's letters and wrote back when he could. The letter here printed, written in two installments, is partly a reporting of personal and family news and partly a mixture of political discussion and scientific comment. In reading between the lines it is easy to recognize the hope of the aging American "philosopher"--now seventy-one--that a speedy and successful end to the war might yet enable him to return to his dearest love, the pursuit of scientific study and experimentation.

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Mr. Franklin: A Selection from His Personal Letters
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction xiii
  • Brother and Sister 3
  • The Scientific Spirit 4
  • Family Report 6
  • A Whirlwind For Mr. Franklin 8
  • A Philosopher Looks At Death 10
  • A Lesson In Relativity 12
  • Type For The Connoisseur 13
  • An Optimist And His Enemies 15
  • Pater Familias 17
  • A Pen Has A Sharp Point 20
  • The Arts Move Westward 21
  • Conversation in a Coach 22
  • Prudential Algebra 25
  • A New Use For Madeira Wine 27
  • A Revolt Begins 29
  • How To Pay For A War 34
  • A Scientist Turns Politician 36
  • How To Recommend A Stranger 41
  • Twelve Commandments 42
  • Father Is Not Pleased 44
  • Money Talks 48
  • The Delightful Ladies Of France 50
  • Two Americans 52
  • Miss Virginia 53
  • What Good is a New-Born Baby? 55
  • Independence Has Its Responsibilities 59
  • Farewell 60
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