Another Ben Franklin gem, this one to the Royal Academy of Brussels:
“I have perused your late Mathematical Prize Question, proposed in lieu of one in Natural Philosophy , for the ensuing year…Permit me then humbly to propose one of that sort for your consideration, and through you, if you approve it, for the serious Enquiry of learned Physicians, Chemists, &c. of this enlightened age. It is universally well known, That in digesting our common Food, there is created or produced in the Bowels of human Creatures, a great Quantity of Wind. That the permitting this Air to escape and mix with the Atmosphere, is usually offensive to the Company, from the fetid Smell that accompanies it. That all well-bred People therefore, to avoid giving such Offence, forcibly restrain the Efforts of Nature to discharge that Wind.”
Evidently, the letter was meant to suggest that ” that the various Academies in Europe were getting overly pretentious and out of touch with reality” and that they should instead undertake to discover “methods of making farts smell better.”
For more, see Fart proudly.