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Where Is Franklin's First Chart of the Gulf Stream?

Franklin Bache
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society
Vol. 76, No. 6 (1936), pp. 731-741
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/984562
Page Count: 21
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Where Is Franklin's First Chart of the Gulf Stream?
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Abstract

Doctor Franklin, Deputy Postmaster-General of the Colonies, in 1769, was in England and there heard complaints from America that westbound mail packets took two weeks longer in crossing than did American merchant ships. A Captain Folger, a Nantucket whaler, being in London, Franklin inquired of him and received the suggestion that the delay was due to the English packets breasting the Gulf Stream, which they continued to do notwithstanding that the American whaling captains told them of it and advised them how to avoid it, but the English captains "were too wise to be counseled by simple American fishermen." Franklin thereupon procured the engraving of the first chart of the Stream. No example of this chart can be found in any of the great collections. It is hoped one may be brought to light. Franklin, while in his seventies, in the course of three North Atlantic crossings, took observations of the water temperature as the ship entered and left the Gulf Stream, with the idea that navigators by doing the same could be warned of the approach to the American Coast, and could use or avoid the Stream, according to the direction in which they were going. He stated his theory of the cause of the Stream which after 160 years of observation is accepted. Thus an American had the first chart of the Stream engraved, made the first scientific observations of it and was the first to ascribe correctly its cause.

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