Benjamin Silliman Sr.

Benjamin Silliman

1779 (North Stratford, Conn.) – 1864 (New Haven, Conn.)

Silliman was responsible for Henry’s appointment at Princeton, despite Henry’s protestation of a lack of formal education. Morse attended Silliman’s lectures on electricity while a student at Yale, and got to know him outside class. Torrey corresponded with him on botany; Whitney knew him for 25 years and was the subject of a memoir he wrote. He met Watt (something of a hero to him) in London; they talked extensively. He knew Priestley when the Englishman came to live in the U.S., and as a hypochondriac was impressed by claims of curative powers for soda-water, which Priestley had invented.