12-19-2013, 07:48 PM
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(from mentalfloss.com)

In September 1776, just a few months after the thirteen American colonies announced their independence from Britain, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams got stuck bunking together for a night. As part of a delegation sent by the Continental Congress, they were on their way from Philadelphia to Staten Island to negotiate with Admiral Richard Howe of the Royal Navy for a possible end to the Revolutionary War. As they passed through New Brunswick, New Jersey, the negotiators - Franklin, Adams and South Carolina politician Edward Rutledge - decided to stop for the night and find a place to sleep.

The local taverns and inns were nearly full, though, and there were only two empty rooms for the three men. “One bed could be procured for Dr. Franklin and me,” Adams wrote in his autobiography, “in a chamber a little larger than the bed, without a chimney and with only one small window.”

That window would be a problem for the two men. Adams, who was “an invalid and afraid of the air in the night,” closed the window before they got into bed. “Oh!” said Franklin. “Don’t shut the window. We shall be suffocated.”

When Adams explained that he didn’t want to catch an illness from the cold night air, Franklin countered that the air in their room was even worse. “Come!” he told Adams. “Open the window and come to bed, and I will convince you: I believe you are not acquainted with my Theory of Colds.”

Contrary to the lay wisdom of the day (and everybody’s grandmother), Franklin was convinced that no one had ever gotten a cold from cold air. Instead, it was the “frowzy corrupt air” from animals, humans and dirty clothes and beds, he thought, that led people to catch colds when they were “shut up together in small close rooms.” Cool, fresh air at night, he believed, had many benefits.

Franklin’s ideas were inconsistent with Adams’ own experiences, he wrote, but he was curious to hear what Franklin had to say. So, even at the risk of a cold, he opened the window again and hopped into bed with Franklin. As they lay side by side, Adams wrote, Franklin “began a harangue upon air and cold and respiration and perspiration.”

“I was so much amused that I soon fell asleep, and left him and his philosophy together,” Adams wrote. “But I believe they were equally sound and insensible, within a few minutes after me, for the last words I heard were pronounced as if he was more than half asleep.”

The strange bedfellows were out like a light, and they continued on their way in the morning. The peace conference they were traveling to lasted just a few hours and produced no results.

213 12,567
 12-19-2013, 08:42 PM
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John, I am always amazed at the fascinating things you find! Biggrin

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 12-19-2013, 10:44 PM
  • freddy
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  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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Interesting, John. I really enjoy these little tidbits you find.

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 12-20-2013, 10:58 AM
  • Johnny
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  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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The only thing I enjoy more than your tidbits are the ever changing country song phrases in your signature. Smile

180 24,586
 12-20-2013, 11:11 AM
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You guys would have liked my Museum of American Tackiness back in the 1970s. Mainly stuff from thrift stores and yard sales, everything was required to be really awful, world class tacky. Admission was free, but attendance was never high....

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