Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jane Mecom, 30 December 1765

From Jane Mecom

ALS:6 American Philosophical Society

Boston Dec. 30 17657

Dear Brother

I have alredy wrote you two Leters won about four months ago [by?] Capt. Freeman, the other about a month Past by Capt. Logee,8 since which I received won from you which came by way of Nantucket9 which was Extreemly comforting to me, as I was almost Tempted to think you had forgot me, but I check those thoughts with the consideration of the Difeculties you must Labour under in the station you are in in those difecult times. I never can forgit that you have not only been the best of Brothers but as a Tender Father to me and mine. So I allways have a pleader in my own bosom that finds an Excuse for all unkind apearances. There has never any thing given me so grate a shock on your acount as to See your friend Huges Apointed Stamp Master. I feared his apointment was by your means, but Even this I concluded must have some good Reasons for which others could not see into.1 The confusion and distres those Opresive Actts have thrown us Poor Americans into is un Discribable by me, but you See the Newspapers full of them but they have fallen very Short I am Tould of a [tragic?] Discription of the Leftanant Governers (Hutchinson)2 Sufferings which all Surcumstances considered was never Equeled in any Nation, our Savours only Exepted, and Like Him I am Tould He bore it; Praying for His Enemies at the Instant they were Persecuteing Him. And our Obdureate Harts will Do nothing to make up His Lose.

He is now going from us, the Gratest ornement of our Country, and the most Indefateguable Patrioat. He Does me the Honour to be the barer of this3 and has Shewn me the Gratest Clemency in the capasety of a Judg,4 may God Protect and Preserve Him Still for the good of mankind and confer on Him the Honour He Deserves. My writin So much of the Gouverner at this time Looks as tho [I was?] Influnced by His Goodnes to me in particular, but I asure you my opinyon of the Gentileman was the same before I had any Busness with Him and my Concern at the unjust treetment He met with that for some Days it overpowered all my other trobles (which were then very Grate.)5 I think you and His Honour may compare notes and console won an other. My famely is now in a beter State of Helth than they have been for two years past.6 Old Sarah Lives yet and is got Down Stars again. I have son Flagg boards with me and cousen Ingersols two Daughters, Mrs. Bowls is also Returned after a twelve months absence, but I have them all at a Low Rate because I can Do no beter, So that my Income Suplys us with vitles fiering candles and Rent but more it cannot with all the Prudence I am mistres of, but thus I must Rub along till Spring when I must Strive after Some other way but what at Present I cant tell Haveing no means for any thing. I know my Dear Brother is allways Redey to asist the Indogent and I now Intreat your advice and Direction [if] you think it Proper to aford me it at this time.7 [I?] Endevour it shall not be thrown away. I feel now as if I could carey on some Biusnes if I was in it but at other times I fear my years are two far advanced to do any thing but jog on in the old track but my two Daughters if they have there Helth are capeble and willing to Do there Part towards gitting a Living and Son flagg is Dutifull and Kind and takes much care of my minde but He has two children to maintain and is in no way but his own hard Labour.

I have wrote and spelt this very badly but as it is to won who I am shure will make all Reasonable allowances for me and not let any won Else see it I Shall venter to send it and subscrib my self your Ever affectionate Sister

Jane Mecom

When I Read this over I see So many buts I am ashamed. Place them to the old accompt.

This was wrote Some time ago but His Honour is still uncertain when He shall go and there is some things in this I want you should know. I send it by this opertunity.


Addressed: To / Dr Benjamin Franklin / at / Mrs Stevensons in Craven Street / London

Endorsed: J Mecom

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6The ink is badly faded and the paper much spotted, hence some words can be only conjecturally supplied.

7The date appears very clearly, but the second postscript shows that she did not send the letter until some time later. On March 1, 1766, BF acknowledged two letters from his sister, dated November 12 and December 20. Neither has been found; possibly he misread the date on this one as December 20, not 30.

8The earlier of these letters (not found) may have informed BF of the illness of her husband, Edward Mecom, or perhaps even of his death on September 11. She sent DF this sad news on September 28. Van Doren, Franklin-Mecom, pp. 83–4. The second letter may have been the one of November 12, mentioned above.

9BF’s letter of August 29, sent via Jonathan Folger of Nantucket; above, p. 249.

1On BF’s part in the appointment of Hughes, see above, pp. 234–5 n.

2Hutchinson’s name in parentheses is added above the line. It is not certain whether it is in Jane Mecom’s hand or is a later addition by another person. On the sacking of Hutchinson’s house and his losses, see above, pp. 339–40, and accompanying notes.

3Hutchinson changed his plans and did not go to England himself, but later sent one of his sons to seek compensation for his losses. As the second postscript to this letter shows, Mrs. Mecom sent this letter some time later by another, unspecified “opertunity.”

4Hutchinson was judge of the Probate Court of Boston and so had authority over the administration of Edward Mecom’s intestate estate. Van Doren, Franklin-Mecom, pp. 84–5, gives particulars.

5The illness and death of her husband, which latter event occurred about two weeks after the attack on Hutchinson’s house.

6At this time her family and household included her two daughters, Jane (C.17.9) and Mary (C.17.11); “Old Sarah,” a servant or family dependent; Jane’s son-in-law, William Flagg, widower of her daughter Sarah (C.17.5), and his two small children, Josiah and Jane; two grand-nieces, Elizabeth and Sarah Ingersoll (C.12.1 and 2), daughters of Col. Joseph Ingersoll and his wife Elizabeth Davenport Ingersoll (C.12.1); and Sarah Bowles, widow of Samuel Bowles and step-daughter of Sarah Franklin Davenport (C.12), Jane Mecom’s sister. Mrs. Bowles’s first name was incorrectly given as Grace, above, X, 393 n.

7BF and DF both gave her more than their advice. Without knowing of her husband’s death, BF had already sent her clothing for herself and her daughters costing more than £18 and later sent her more. He also sent materials (for which she paid) that she and the girls could use to make artificial flowers for sale; above, pp. 324–6. Early in 1766 DF arranged for Jonathan Williams to give her eight dollars on BF’s account; above, X, 356, 356–7 n; Van Doren, Franklin-Mecom, pp. 88–9. The Franklins continued to help her in many ways. Already in 1763 he had turned over to her, for the support of her insane son Peter, the rental income of a house in Boston formerly belonging to their sister Elizabeth Douse, title to which he had acquired on Mrs. Douse’s death; in 1784 he installed Jane in the house, and he bequeathed it to her in his will together with an annuity of £60 sterling. Above, X, 360, 384; Van Doren, Franklin-Mecom, pp. 225–6, 344–5.

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