Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Deborah Franklin, 11 October 1766

To Deborah Franklin

ALS: American Philosophical Society

London, Oct. 11. 1766

My dear Child

I received your kind little Letter of August 26. per Packet.8 Scarce any one else wrote to me by that Opportunity.9 I suppose they imagin’d I should not be return’d from Germany.1

You mention writing to me by a Son of Mr. Potts’s.2 A Ship is come from Philadelphia, Capt. Golley. But I have only one Letter in her, and that is from Mr. Hall, to whom my Respects. I know not whether that is the Ship the young Gentleman was to come in.3

Pray did you ever get the Letters and Cambrick I sent you per Mr. Yates?4 You told me he had lost them, but hop’d to find them again. You did not say in any of your subsequent Letters whether he found them; or whether our generous Adversaries have got them and keep them for their own Amusement, as you know they did some of my former.5

I wish you would always mention the Dates of the Letters you receive from me; for then, as I generally keep Copies, I should know what get to hand and what miscarry.

I grieve for the Loss of dear Miss Ross.6 She was indeed an amiable Girl. It must be a great Affliction to her Parents and Friends.

In my last I desired you to get Mr. Rhoads to send me a little Sketch of the Lot and Wall; but I have since found one he sent me before; so it is not necessary; only tell me whether it takes in Part of the late controverted Lot,7 and how high it comes on both sides, and whereabouts the Wall is. By the way you never have told me what the Award was. I wish I could see a Copy of it.

Here are but two Franklins remaining in England descended from my Grandfather; to wit, my Uncle John’s Grand Son Thomas Franklin, who is a Dyer at Lutterworth, in Leicester Shire, and has a Daughter about 13 Years of Age named Sally.8 He brought her to town to see me in the Spring, and Mrs. Stevenson persuaded him to leave the Child under her Care for a little Schooling and Improvement, while I went abroad. When I return’d, I found her indeed much improv’d, and grown a fine Girl. She is sensible and of a sweet obliging Temper; but is now ill of a violent Fever, and I doubt we shall lose her; which particularly afflicts Mrs. Stevenson, not only as she has contracted a great Affection for the Child, but as it was she that persuaded her Father to leave her here.

Mrs. Stevenson presents her best Respects. Polly is gone home to her Aunt’s at Kensington. My Love to our Children and all enquiring Friends I am, Your ever loving Husband

B Franklin

I must request you to procure of some Friend of ours, a Copy of our Fire Company Articles, and a Copy of the Insurance Articles,9 and send them as soon as you can to Irenaeus Moe, Esqr. at Barbadoes, Bridgetown.1

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Not found.

9Joseph Galloway was one who did; see the second document below.

1For BF and Sir John Pringle’s trip to Germany in the summer of 1766, see above, pp. 314–5.

2Jonathan Potts, son of John Potts, and Benjamin Rush sailed from Philadelphia at the end of August and arrived at Liverpool, Oct. 21, 1766. Several of BF’s friends wrote him by these young men; if DF did, her letter has not been found.

3Pa. Gaz., Aug. 21, 1766, reported the clearance of the brig Elizabeth, Capt. Golley. For Hall’s letter of Aug. 19, 1766, see above, pp. 380–1. Young Potts and Rush were aboard the Friendship, Capt. Pearce.

4In his letter to DF of April 6, 1766 (above, pp. 233–5), BF mentioned sending “3 Ells of Cambrick” by a Mr. Yates. The fate of the letters carried by Yates is not known.

5See above, IX, 15 n, 221–2 n.

6For the death of Sally Franklin’s close friend, Margaret Ross, Aug. 20, 1766, see above, p. 338 n.

7This was a lot to the west of BF’s property the title and exact bounds of which were in dispute between a group of Quakers and the heirs of one Fox. According to Charles Thomson, writing DF on Nov. 10, 1766, court-appointed arbitrators had reached a satisfactory decision on the matter sometime before that date. See above, XII, 166–7 n; this volume, p. 118 n; Thomson to DF, Nov. 10, 1766, Yale Univ. Lib.

8Thomas Franklin (A., who coincidentally wrote BF on this day (see below, p. 454), was his first cousin once removed. Thomas’ daughter Sarah (A. recovered from the illness mentioned later in this paragraph, married in 1773, and had four children before her death in 1781.

9See above, II, 150–2; IV, 281–95.

1Probably Irenaeus Moe, proposed as a member of the Barbados Council in 1766 and appointed by the King in 1768; Board of Trade Journal, 1764–67, pp. 330, 344; Acts Privy Coun., Col., v, 653. Bridgetown had been almost destroyed by fire on May 14. Pa. Gaz., June 12, 19, 26, July 3, 10, 1766, published letters describing the loss, and London Chron., July 5–8, reprinted an account from the Barbados Mercury.

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