Front Page Titles (by Subject) CCCCIV: FROM SAMUEL RHOADS TO B. FRANKLIN - The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. V Letters and Misc. Writings 1768-1772
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CCCCIV: FROM SAMUEL RHOADS TO B. FRANKLIN - Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. V Letters and Misc. Writings 1768-1772 
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. V (Letters and Misc. Writings 1768-1772).
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FROM SAMUEL RHOADS TO B. FRANKLIN
Philadelphia, 3 May, 1771.
I received thy kind favor of February 10th, and am much obliged by the several useful papers, pamphlets, and samples contained therein. Thy friend Wooller has taken much pains in explaining the method of making our houses secure from fire, which I hope will be of great service. We are much obliged to him. I have given several little bits of the limestone to some of my acquaintance in the country, in hopes it may be found here. I am told they make lime in Berks County that will harden under water. I have sent for a sample of it, and will try it. We certainly have plenty of stone very like this in appearance, and I hope of the same quality. I am the more concerned for this discovery, as we are told it was very useful in the works under water of the Duke of Bridgewater’s canal, and we expect shortly to be canal-mad, and may want it in such works also.
The growing trade of Baltimore Town in Maryland, drawn principally from our province west of the Susquehanna, begins to alarm us with serious apprehensions of such a rival, as may reduce us to the situation of Burlington and Newcastle on the Delaware; and we can devise no means of saving ourselves but by a canal from the Susquehanna to the Schuylkill, and amending the navigation of all our rivers, so far as they lead towards our capital city. A great number of thy friends are very anxious for promoting this work, particularly the canal, if it is practicable, through the heart of the country. And as thou wast kind enough formerly to send me several papers relating to the navigation of Calder River, I request the favor of adding thereto the last accounts and instructions respecting canals, the construction of their floodgates, wastegates, &c. The Assembly have ordered the Speaker to procure the remainder of the statutes to complete their set in the State House library, by which, I suppose we shall have those relating to canals; but, if they are to be had singly, please to send one or two, which are the most instructive in the rates, terms, conditions of carriage, and passing the grounds, and the cost shall be paid.1
I congratulate thee on the prospect we have of the sum of money lodged in the bank for the Pennsylvania Hospital being now paid, and of thy pleasure in receiving it for that charity, which thou hadst so great a share in establishing. We last night executed a power of attorney to thee, Dr. Fothergill, and David Barclay, to apply to the Court of Chancery in order to receive it; and lest our Hospital seal should not be sufficient evidence of our act and deed, we called three witnesses, who may be examined by your people on oath respecting the due executing the powers of attorney. If any difficulty should occur, you will not fail of acquainting us with it by the first opportunity. My wife, children, and thy old friend Ann Paschal, desire to be kindly remembered to thee. Thy sincere and affectionate friend,
[1 ]Dr. Franklin sent the papers here requested, and Mr. Rhoads wrote to him a year afterwards as follows: “The several papers and pamphlets on canals came safe to hand, and I hope they will be useful, as I find the reports of the great engineers, Smeaton and Brindley, concerning the Scotch canal, contain a great deal of instruction for us inexperienced Americans. . . . I should have made this acknowledgment by Falconer, but was then out of town with the ingenious David Rittenhouse, on an examination of the ground, in order to judge of the practicability of a canal between the Schuylkill and Susquehanna, to save our western trade from total loss. As he was taken sick on the road, and I was not very well, our discoveries are yet too imperfect to communicate to thee; except that on levelling the waters of the Schuylkill, we find that river to ascend, or the bed of it to rise, near sixty feet in less than twenty miles, and I suppose it to continue the same ascent to Reading.”—May 30th, 1772.