Front Page Titles (by Subject) CCCXVII: TO CADWALLADER EVANS 1 - The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. IV Letters and Misc. Writings 1763-1768
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CCCXVII: TO CADWALLADER EVANS 1 - Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. IV Letters and Misc. Writings 1763-1768 
The Works of Benjamin Franklin, including the Private as well as the Official and Scientific Correspondence, together with the Unmutilated and Correct Version of the Autobiography, compiled and edited by John Bigelow (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). The Federal Edition in 12 volumes. Vol. IV (Letters and Misc. Writings 1763-1768).
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TO CADWALLADER EVANS1
London, 20 February, 1768.
I wrote you a few lines by Captain Falconer, and sent you Dr. Watson’s new piece of Experiments in Inoculation, which I hope will be agreeable to you.
In yours of November 20th, you mention the lead in the worms of stills as a probable cause of the dry belly-ache among punch-drinkers in our West Indies. I had before acquainted Dr. Baker with a fact of that kind, the general mischief done in the use of leaden worms, when rum-distilling was first practised in New England, which occasioned a severe law there against them; and he has mentioned it in the second part of his piece not yet published. I have long been of opinion that that distemper proceeds always from a metallic cause only; observing that it affects, among tradesmen, those that use lead, however different their trades,—as glaziers, letter-founders, plumbers, potters, white-lead makers and painters; (from the latter, it has been conjectured, it took its name colicaPictonum, by the mistake of a letter, and not from its being the disease of Poictou;) and, although the worms of stills ought to be of pure tin, they are often made of pewter, which has a great mixture in it of lead.
The Boston people, pretending to interfere with the manufactures of this country, make a great clamor here against America in general. I have therefore endeavoured to palliate matters a little in several public papers. It would, as you justly observe, give less umbrage if we meddled only with such manufactures as England does not attend to. That of linen might be carried on more or less in every family (perhaps it can only do it in a family way), and silk, I think, in most of the colonies. But there are many manufactures that we cannot carry on to advantage, though we were at entire liberty. And, after all, this country is fond of manufactures beyond their real value, for the true source of riches is husbandry. Agriculture is truly productive of new wealth; manufacturers only change forms, and, whatever value they give to the materials they work upon, they in the meantime consume an equal value in provisions, &c. So that riches are not increased by manufacturing; the only advantage is, that provisions in the shape of manufactures are more easily carried for sale to foreign markets. And where the provisions cannot be easily carried to market, it is well to transform them for our own use as well as foreign sale. In families also, where the children and servants of families have some spare time, it is well to employ it in making something, and in spinning or knitting, &c., to gatherup the fragments (of time) that nothing may be lost, for those fragments, though small in themselves, amount to something great in the year, and the family must eat, whether they work or are idle.
But this nation seems to have increased the number of its manufactures beyond reasonable bounds (for there are bounds to every thing), whereby provisions are now risen to an exorbitant price by the demand for supplying home mouths; so that there may be an importation from foreign countries; but the expense of bringing provisions from abroad to feed manufacturers here will so enhance the price of the manufactures, that they may be made cheaper where the provisions grow, and the mouths will go to the meat.
I am, with thanks for your good wishes, dear Sir, yours, &c.,
[1 ]A physician in Philadelphia and member of the American Philosophical Society.