FRANKLIN, Benjamin (1706-1790). Autograph letter signed ("B. Franklin") to Henry Home, Lord Kames, London, 27 January 1762.
FRANKLIN, Benjamin (1706-1790). Autograph letter signed ("B. Franklin") to Henry Home, Lord Kames, London, 27 January 1762.
FRANKLIN, Benjamin (1706-1790). Autograph letter signed ("B. Franklin") to Henry Home, Lord Kames, London, 27 January 1762.
FRANKLIN, Benjamin (1706-1790). Autograph letter signed ("B. Franklin") to Henry Home, Lord Kames, London, 27 January 1762.
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PROPERTY FROM THE ROGER D. JUDD COLLECTION OF HISTORICAL LETTERS, DOCUMENTS & MANUSCRIPTS
FRANKLIN, Benjamin (1706-1790). Autograph letter signed ("B. Franklin") to Henry Home, Lord Kames, London, 27 January 1762.

Details
FRANKLIN, Benjamin (1706-1790). Autograph letter signed ("B. Franklin") to Henry Home, Lord Kames, London, 27 January 1762.

Three pages, 322 x 201mm (partial fold separations and marginal tears repaired); with transmittal leaf and seal (laid down on paper).

Franklin attempts to solve the problem of a smokey chimney and writes of his plans to complete The Art of Virtue. “I am griev'd that you should live in a smoaky Room at Edinburgh, and that it is so difficult at this Distance to employ any Skill I may have in these Matters for your Relief.” But rather than begging off, he makes an attempt to diagnose the issue, posing a series of questions: "Does the Chimney refuse constantly to carry Smoke, or is it only at particular Times? Is it in a calm Season, or only when Winds blow? that is, What Point of the Compass does the Opening of the Chimney within your Room face towards, & what Winds chiefly affect it? […] What is the Situation of your high Street in Edinburgh, with respect to the Compass?" and many more similar questions. He closes, “There are I think 5 or 6 different Cases of smoaky Chimnies; all (except one) to be cured by different Means; & that one seems to me at present absolutely incurable. Chimneys in this Case, from what I remember of the Situation of Buildings in Edinburgh, I should fear you have more in proportion than any other Town in Britain. But Workmen, ignorant of Causes, are like Quacks, always tampering; applying the Remedy proper in one Case to another in which it is improper, as well as attempting the Cure of what from the Nature of Things is not to be cured.”

Franklin also waits impatiently for a copy of Kames’ Elements of Criticism, but “yet I hear nothing of any Copies being come to London.” At this time, Franklin was preparing to embark on a voyage to return to Philadelphia and he hoped that upon his arrival he would have “reason to expect a good deal of Leisure, and purpose seizing the first Opportunity of compleating a Work which I flatter myself will be useful to many, and afford some Reputation to its Author”. This clearly refers to the long-planned Art of Virtue, a work that he failed to complete before his death in 1790. Although he was in active preparation to return to America, he would not depart until late August 1762, (see lot 107). Published in The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed. L.W. Labaree, vol.10 pp.27-29. Provenance: sold by the descendants of Lord Kames, Christie's, 29 June 1995, lot 507.
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