Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 9

Balloon we now
inhabit.

With great and sincere Esteem, I am,
Dear Sir,
Your most obed^t
& most humble Servant,
B. FRANKLIN

Sir JOSEPH BANKS.


(POSTPONEMENT OF CHARLES' AND ROBERT'S ASCENSION.)

PASSY, Nov. 30, 1783

Dear Sir,

I did myself the honour of writing to you the Beginning of last Week,
and I sent you by the Courier, M. Faujas's Book upon the Balloons,
which I hope you have receiv'd. I did hope to have given you to day
an Account of Mr. Charles's grand Balloon, which was to have gone up
yesterday; but the filling it with inflammable Air having taken more
time than had been calculated, it is deferr'd till to-morrow. I send
you herewith a Paper in which you will see what was proposed by Mess^rs
Robert who constructed the Machine; and some other Papers relative
to the same Subject, the last of which is curious, as containing the
Journal of the first Aerial Voyage performed by Man.--I purpose being
present to-morrow at the Experiment, and shall give you an Acc^t of it
by the Wednesday's Post. With sincere & great Esteem, I have the honour
to be,

Sir, Your most obed^t humble Serv^t
B. FRANKLIN

Sir JOS. BANKS, Bar^t.


(THE SECOND AERIAL VOYAGE BY MAN.)

PASSY, Dec. 1, 1783.

Dear Sir,

In mine of yesterday, I promis'd to give you an Account of Mess^rs.
Charles & Robert's Experiment, which was to have been made at this Day,
and at which I intended to be present. Being a little indispos'd, & the
Air cool, and the Ground damp, I declin'd going into the Garden of the
Tuilleries where the Balloon was plac'd, not knowing how long I might
be oblig'd to wait there before it was ready to depart; and chose to
stay in my Carriage near the Statue of Louis XV. from whence I could
well see it rise, & have an extensive View of the Region of Air thro'
which, as the Wind sat, it was likely to pass. The Morning was foggy,
but about one aClock, the Air became tolerably clear, to the great
Satisfaction of the Spectators, who were infinite, Notice having been
given of the intended Experiment several Days before in the Papers,
so that all Paris was out, either about the Tuilleries, on the Quays
& Bridges, in the Fields, the Streets, at the Windows, or on the Tops
of Houses, besides the Inhabitants of all the Towns & Villages of the
Environs. Never before was a philosophical Experiment so magnificently
attended. Some Guns were fired to give Notice, that the Departure
of the

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