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15 - 16 June 1998
FRANKLIN, Benjamin (1706-1790). Philosophical and miscellaneous papers. London: for C. Dilly, 1787.
8o (221 x 135 mm). 4 folding engraved plates, including a chart of the Gulf Stream (some minor offsetting). Modern calf-backed marbled boards. Provenance: member of the Franklin family (presentation inscription from Franklin on the advertisement leaf: "Your affectionate Uncle B.F.").
FIRST EDITION. PRESENTATION COPY TO HIS NEPHEW OR NIECE. A companion volume to the collected edition of Experiments and observations in electricity (1769) and Franklin's Political, miscellaneous and philosophical pieces (1779).
The recipient of this volume was most likely Franklin's grand-nephew, Jonathan Williams (1750-1815), merchant and soldier who was the son of Jonathan Williams and Grace Harris Williams, daughter of Benjamin Franklin's sister, Anne. Williams along with his brother were sent to London in 1770 to complete their training and make contacts under Franklin's tutelage. Franklin was impressed by his diligence and the two remained close over the years. Williams lived abroad until his return to America with Franklin in 1785. In 1796 he became an associate judge in the court of common pleas, and gained a reputation as a scientist. He worked with his uncle on some of his later experiments, and published in 1799 a treatise entitled Thermometrical Navigation. He also contributed to the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, where he served at various times secretary, councillor, and vice-president. Howes B-328; Sabin 25562; Norman 834.
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