Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Deborah Franklin, 21 January 1758

To Deborah Franklin

MS not found; reprinted from Duane, Works, VI, 29–30.

London, January 21, 1758.

My Dear Child,

Mr. Lorimer,7 a friend who is going over to General Abercromby, to assist him as a secretary, called on me just now, to acquaint me that he is on the point of setting out. I seize a minute or two just to let you know we are well, that is, I am well, compared to what I have been during a great part of the time since my arrival, and I hope with the spring to recover my full strength. Billy is quite hearty and presents his duty, love, &c.

I have wrote to you by several opportunities, lately, and particularly one long letter of two sheets, which I hope will come to hand, as it contained, a full answer to a number of yours, received during my illness, and I have no copy of it.8

I begin to think I shall hardly be able to return before this time twelve months. I am for doing effectually what I came about; and I find it requires both time and patience. You may think perhaps, that I can find many amusements here to pass the time agreeable. ’Tis true, the regard and friendship I meet with from persons of worth, and the conversation of ingenious men, give me no small pleasure;9 but at this time of life, domestic comforts afford the most solid satisfaction, and my uneasiness at being absent from my family, and longing desire to be with them, make me often sigh in the midst of cheerful company.

My love to my dear Sally. I confide in you the care of her and her education; I promise myself the pleasure of finding her much improved at my return.

While I am writing, three letters came in, one from Mr. Hall, one from Rhoads, another from Dr. Bond,1 but none from you: they are by way of Bristol. I must send this away immediately, lest Mr. Lorimer should be gone. My respects to those gentlemen, to whom I shall write, and to my other friends by Mr. Ralph’s vessel,2 which sails next week. I am, Your ever loving husband,

B. Franklin.

PS. When you write to Boston, give my love to sister Jenney—as I have not often time to write to her. If you please you may send her the inclosed little picture.3


[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Not identified, but possibly a misprint for Joshua Loring (1716–1781), a native of Boston, Mass., who went from England to America at about this time to superintend naval construction on the lakes of the New York frontier. DAB; Gertrude S. Kimball, ed., Correspondence of William Pitt (N.Y., 1906), I, 145, 153, 159. Gen. James Abercromby (above, VI, 459 n) had recently been appointed to succeed Lord Loudoun as commander in North America.

8See above, pp. 272, 359, for the only surviving letters from BF to his wife since his illness.

9Rumors circulating in America at this time exaggerated BF’s influence in England. Jane Mecom wrote DF, Jan. 29, 1758, excusing herself for not knowing how to address “Governers and Baronets Ladys,” and Benjamin Mecom wrote DF a day later of “A Report in Town of Uncle Franklin’s further Promotion.” APS.

1The letter from David Hall may have been that of Nov. 20, 1757 (above, p. 272); none from Samuel Rhoads (above, II, 406 n), or Drs. Thomas or Phineas Bond (above, II, 240 n), at this time have been found.

2John Relfe; see above, p. 276 n.

3Reproduced as the frontispiece of this volume. See the note in the List of Illustrations (above, p. XV) for information about it.

Index Entries