Front Page Titles (by Subject) DXLIV: TO JOHN INGENHOUSZ - The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. VI Letters and Misc. Writings 1772-1775
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DXLIV: TO JOHN INGENHOUSZ - Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. VI Letters and Misc. Writings 1772-1775 
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. VI (Letters and Misc. Writings 1772-1775).
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TO JOHN INGENHOUSZ
London, 30 September, 1773.
My Dear Friend:—
I rejoiced as much as any friend could do at the news we received here from time to time of your success in your profession, and of the safe recovery of your illustrious patients of that most amiable family. But it grieved us all, at the same time, to hear that you did not yourself enjoy health in that country. Surely their known goodness will graciously give you leave of absence, if you have but the courage to request it, and permit you to come and reside in England, which always agreed well with your constitution. All your friends here will be made happy by such an event.1
I had purposed to return to America this last summer, but some events in our colony affairs induced me to stay here another winter. Some time in May or June next I believe I shall leave England. May I hope to see you here once more?
I shall be glad to see the work of the Abbé Fontana on that disease of wheat. As yet I have not heard that it is come to England.
Sir William Hamilton writes from Naples, that after many experiments he has not been able to perceive any certain signs of electricity in the torpedo. It is perhaps best that there should be two opinions on this subject, for that may occasion a more thorough examination of it, and finally make us better acquainted with it.
It is not difficult to construct a needle, so as to keep pointing to the meridian of any one place, whatever may be the variation in that place. But to point always to the meridian, wherever the needle may be removed, is, I apprehend, not possible.
Mr. Nairne has, as you have heard, finished a very fine electric machine. I have seen sparks from the prime conductor thirteen inches in length. He has added a large battery, and produces a discharge from it sufficiently strong to blast growing vegetables, as lightning is supposed to do. From a greater force used, perhaps some more discoveries may be made. I am much pleased with the account you give me of your new machine of white velvet rubbed upon hare-skin.
Last year the Board of Ordnance applied to the Royal Society here for their opinion of the propriety of erecting conductors to secure the powder magazines at Purfleet. The Society appointed a committee to view the magazines, and report their advice. The members appointed were Messrs. Cavendish, Watson, Delaval, Robertson, Wilson, and myself. We accordingly, after reviewing them, drew up a report, recommending conductors to each, elevated ten feet above the roof, and pointed at the ends. Mr. Delaval did not attend; all the rest agreed in the Report, only Mr. Wilson objected to pointing the rods, asserting that blunt ends or knobs would be better. The work, however, was finished according to our direction. He was displeased that his opinion was not followed, and has written a pamphlet against points. I have not answered it, being averse to disputes. But in a new translation and edition of my book, printed lately at Paris, in two volumes, quarto, you will see some new experiments of mine, with the reasonings upon them, which satisfied the committee. They are not yet printed in English, but will be in a new edition now printing at Oxford, and perhaps they will be in the next Transactions.
It has been a fashion to decry Hawkesworth’s book; but it does not deserve the treatment it has met with. It acquaints us with new people having new customs, and teaches us a good deal of new knowledge.
Captain Phips has returned, not having been able to approach the Pole nearer than eighty-one degrees, the ice preventing.
M. Tremont, an ingenious young Italian, who was lately here, gave me a little spy-glass of his making, upon Père Boscovich’s principles, the ocular lens being a composition of different glasses instead of the objective. It is indeed a very good one.
Sir John Pringle is returned from Scotland, better in health than heretofore. He always speaks of you with respect and affection, as does Dr. Huck and all that knew you.
I am ever, with the sincerest esteem, dear sir,
Your faithful and most obedient servant,
[1 ]Dr. Ingenhousz was now residing at Vienna, whither he had gone to inoculate for the small-pox the Archduchess Theresa Elizabeth, the only daughter of the emperor, and the Archdukes Ferdinand and Maximilian, the emperor’s brothers. He remained in that city several years. He was in England during a large part of the year 1779, when he published his work, entitled, Experiments on Vegetables, etc. In the title-page of that work he styles himself “Counsellor of the Court and Body Physician to their Imperial Majesties.”—Editor.