Magnificent Revolutionary War–dated ALS signed “B. Franklin,” one page, 7 x 9, March 13, 1779. Letter to “the Representative of the Author of Experiments on the igneous Fluid,” Jean-Paul Marat. In full: “I think my self much honour’d by the Invitation, and shall endeavour to be present at the farther Exhibition of those ingenious Experiments, when I am informed of the Day and Hour appointed by the Committee.” Handsomely mounted, matted, and framed with a portrait. In fine condition. Both this letter and Marat’s invitation are published in The Papers of Benjamin Franklin.
Much in the same mold as Franklin, Jean-Paul Marat was an important political theorist who was also an amateur scientist. At this time, Marat had set out to challenge the prevailing understanding of the nature of fire. He believed that a fluid, which he termed ‘fluid igne,’ emanated from fire and could be made visible using an instrument he invented called the microscope solaire. He devised a series of over one hundred experiments that he claimed would prove his theory and performed them in front of a commission appointed by the Academie des Sciences. Franklin was invited to attend—this letter was his initial response—and he would do so on several occasions, at times even assisting Marat in the experiments. Although Marat misinterpreted the results and most Academie members were skeptical of his findings, this is an outstanding letter with uncommon scientific content that shows Franklin’s true passion for discovery. Oversized. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.