"In my opinion the whole affair is little more than a scheme for publicity," was the emphatic statement of Professor A. G. McAdie '84, when questioned last night concerning the recent demands which have been made by a Mr. J. Henry Smythe Jr., of New York, that an investigation be made by the University, and the Academy of Arts and Sciences, as to the truth of the famous "kite flying" experiment of Benjamin Franklin. The demand was made in a letter to the University, which charged Professor McAdie with detracting from Franklin's name by calling the kite incident "a myth," and demanded that committees be formed to determine the truth of the charge.
Doubts Scientific Spirit
In Professor McAdie's opinion, neither the University nor the Academy is likely to see fit to follow up the matter. "It is evident," he said, "from the fact that the letter was published in the newspapers almost before it reached the college office, that it was not written in the best interests of science and history. I doubt very must but that the whole matter will be dropped."
Professor McAdie also upheld the statement which has been quoted by Mr. Smythe as having done "untold harm" to Franklin's character. "The story as it a commonly conceived," he said, "is on the face of it extremely fanciful. The picture of the old man standing out in the rain and wind with a small silk kite, which has been one of the favorite subjects of patriotic artists, is not at all accurate. If such an experiment were really handled in that fashion the experimenter would, in all probability be promptly killed."
Matter Now in Official Hands
The question of replying or conforming to Mr. Smythe's requests is now in the hands of the secretary of the Corporation, and the Administrative Council of the Academy of Arts and Sciences. It will be regularly considered at the Corporation meeting next Tuesday and at the meeting of the Academy in April.