Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Jane Mecom, 11 November 1758

To Jane Mecom

ALS: American Philosophical Society

London Nov. 11. 1758

Dear Sister

I wrote you a long Letter of Sept. 16. and again I wrote to you Oct. 2. since which I have receiv’d your Favour of Augt. 15.3 You mention its being sent by the Son of our good Friend Dr. Perkins.4 I have not seen him yet, but shall endeavour to find him out. I hope my Health is now pretty well established by the frequent Journies I have made this Summer, and that I shall be able to go pretty well thro’ another Winter. In our last Journey stopping at a Place call’d Attleborough, I think it was in Suffolk,5 we found in the Church Yard the following Inscription on a large handsome Stone

In Memory of Thomas Foulger, late of Illington Hall, who died Dec. 23d. 1754. aged 51 Years.

As I have never in my Life met with or heard of any Foulgers but those of our Family, I made Billy copy it, intending to enquire after them when we return’d, but we came another Way.6 Pray ask Cousin Abisha Foulger7 if he or any in Nantucket can tell what Part of England our Grandfather Peter Foulger came from. I think I have heard our Mother say he came out of Suffolk, but am not certain.8 In Dr. Mather’s Magnalia,9 I find that in Bishop Laud’s Time a great many eminent Ministers with Numbers of their Friends and Hearers went out of Suffolk, Norfolk, and Lincolnshire, to New England, flying from the Persecution then on foot against the Puritans. It is possible he might be among them. The Dr. mentions him in Page 54 of Book VI. in the Terms of “an able and godly Englishman, well learn’d in the Scriptures,” who about the Year 1647 was employ’d as an Assistant to Mr. Mayhew, the same that converted the Indians of Marthas Vineyard.1

I never expected much from the Germantown Affair, so am not disappointed.2 I took Lots and built there in Complaisance to my Brothers, but the Expence was not great. I wish the Glasshouse you mention may have all the Success the Undertakers can desire.

Mr. Strahan has sent a very large Cargo to Benny, which I hope will turn out to his Advantage.3 I have also order’d him a Cargo of Stationery which will go per the next Ship.4 I am glad to hear he is industrious and frugal, and that you like his Wife: I make no doubt, that with those Qualities, and the Advantage of so discreet a Partner, he will do well in the World, which will give me great Pleasure.

Billy presents his Duty to you and Brother, and joins with me in Love to you all. He last Week put on the Gown as a Lawyer; being call’d to the Bar in Westminster Hall. He was enter’d of the Middle Temple some Years before we came over.5 I am, my dear Sister, Your affectionate Brother

B Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3See above, pp. 152–5, for the “long letter” of September 16. The letters of October 2 and August 15 mentioned here have not been found.

4For John Perkins, Boston physician and BF’s scientific correspondent, see above, IV, 267 n. Nothing is known about his son.

5Attleborough is in Norfolk. For “our last Journey” see above, p. 132 n.

6BF did, however, request his friend David Edwards of Bury St. Edmunds (see above, VII, 275 n) to inquire about the Foulgers (Folgers) of Illington. See below, p. 277.

7B., BF and Jane’s first cousin once removed.

8Peter Folger (B.1) was born in Norwich, Norfolk, and came to New England in 1635.

9Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana (London, 1702).

1Thomas Mayhew (1593–1682) acquired title to Martha’s Vineyard and nearby islands in 1641. His son Thomas (c. 1621–1657) and he were the pioneer missionaries to the Indians in New England and achieved great success in converting the natives of their islands. DAB.

2For the glass works at Germantown in Braintree, Mass., and the Franklins’ real estate ventures there, see above, V, 119 n.

3See above, p. 152.

4BF paid £67 11s. 4d. for the stationery, Dec. 19, 1758; “Account of Expences,” p. 37; PMHB, LV (1931), 115.

5At BF’s request, William Strahan had entered WF’s name in the Middle Temple, Feb. 11, 1751; he was called to the bar Nov. 10, 1758; see above, IV, 78 n.

Index Entries