Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Deborah Franklin, 2[0–25] April 1767

From Deborah Franklin

AL: American Philosophical Society

April 2[0–25, 17671]

My Dear Child

I did reseve your Dear littel letter by the packit2 it gave me much pleshuer to hear that your dear armes air so much better and that our Dear littel Salley is so much better my love to her tell her I ofen have talked of her. Thank good mrs. Stephenson for takeing Cair of her. I did thinke her mother was dead as you had not sed aney thing of her poor dear child hough I love her Capt. Folkener and I tolke of her when we meet.3 I am verey Glad you have got your close and I hope thay was properly dun up. I hope the meel proved good I did all I Cold to preserve it and I hope thee buck wheet flower proved good allso. I Cold not find one dreyd peech in the market Sense those I sente but I got sum apills and presented to Capt. Folkiner as hee semed plesed with a pey [pie] he eate parte of att our house.

When I heard of Mr. Mockridges Deth it surprised and trubold me indead our nabor Thomson wente up I got him to speeke to Mrs. Drewrey shee semed to be a strainger to the afair but it Cold not be as I had talked with her abought it.4 I got Mr. Thomson to write to her but have not reseved one word of anser from her but Thomey Potts ses his Brother Rutter is Exceketer5 and he will speeke to him but the wather has bin so bad that thair is hardly aney travilin. I have shone your letter and presented the Bill. Mr. David Potts6 ses he shall send to his father and will Cole on me. He is much obliged to you for your kines to his Brother and Mrs. Morris7 is all in Rapters a bought your kines to her Son Dr. Rush who has wrote to several of his friend and told them what sivilitey he reseves from your recomendashon. He has wrote to his mother the Copey of your to himselef and that to Sir Elexander Dick.8 Indead it has given his friends much pleshuer and will gain you much respeckte it has dun you much Credit withoute a Compleymente and I have bin much plesed with it.

On Sonday which was Esterday the poste Came in and brought me a letter and Salley one.9 You tell her to let you find that shee ades to the number of her friends. Before this dus reach you, you will be informd of the adishon of her friends1 I doute not but it will make you Sereious it makes me so in dead my menshoning agen that I wold let you know in what manner I ackte as I am obliged to be father and mother. I treet him as a friend and shall while I am alone for I thinke he deserves it and was I to due other way I thinke it wold only drive her to see him sum wair eles which wold give me much uneseynes. I hope I ackte to your Satisfackshon. I due acordin to my beste Judgment. Mr. Gallaway has sumtime ago sed sum thing to me a bought it and the day befor yisterday he Came to see us. Salley dined att Mr. Rosses so we was alone he spooke to me a gin I freely told him and told him all so hough I had ackted. He sed I did write and as I shold ac[t.] Now I will tell you a bought her and her friends and I am to tell you all so to be a Governers mother and Sister brings us much friends from the Jarsey and so forthe and shee all way be have to everey bodey well, now to begin only Wednesday evening laste shee had a littel Partey att Cardes and super it Consisted of the two Miss Mores of more Hall the two Miss Frankes miss Kittey Ross and Kittey Ingles and Miss Levey the men a son of Mr. Goldins Poste master a ofiser an humbel servant of Miss Rosses Mr. Beauch and Mr. Foxcrofte.2 Salley was att the Laste Assembley and was Compleymented by one of Mr. Allins Sons with a seet in thair Carrag but shee choues Mr. Peens as they bouth ofred.3 I shold not menshon this only to tell you that Salley has friendes all a bought on everey sid. This day Pason Petters and Miss Oswell was to a dranke tee with her but shee was in Gaged on a party att the falles. Mrs. Frances and her Brothers and sister Willines their is 12 in Number Secketer Shipen and Mr. B---h and Sally the only ones under the Carackter of Brothers and Sister.4

This minit I hear that Capt. Friend is a Coming up but as Capt. Folkener is to saile this day I muste write to go by him5 and as the Packit is to saile next week I shall write a gen but mabey you will be on your way home be for that Capt. Folkener is in hopes of bringing you home I shold be glad if it Cold be so as I know he wold be kind to you.

I muste tell you that our Gardin that is to be is a fenesing of [f] but I have two Cartes a bringing durte to rais it as the desente muste Come from the wall to go to the street. In dead I raly due all I Can but that is so verey littel that I am a shamed. I paid to Mr. Smith laste week £30 as I did to Mr. Ervin the Carter.6 I am to pay this day 6 pounds od money for the seder postes and fenes. I am if I live to go to Mr. Rodises plase next week and then we air to go to friend Bartrams.

I have ofen wondered that you did not send us one or two of those quilted Cotes that air quilted in the Frame[?] I wish you wold. I was a going to write for sume more of the Read Stuef for two Cushins but I saw such to be sold the same Coler and I got a pees. It Coste this money £7 10s. 0d. I had not a bitt to send and was told it was as cheep as I Cold get it in Ingland. It is for the two littel rooms or if we pleas for bouth roomes upstaires but I shall put them down staires. Billey dont like the Blew room7 at all, so it is not finished tell you cume home. I nead not menshon to you to bring sumthing for Salley when you Cume. This minit Mr. Whorton brought your letter to me by Friend and Mr. Galloway was a going up to Burlinton and I sente it to him (Billeys letter). Thay was all well ten days a go. I thinke to go up in a verey littel time to see them. I am verey glad to hear that our Dear Salley Franklin is well my love to her I love the name inded I thought her mother was dead as I had not heard her menshon. My tenderest love to her. Tell me if our Polley is like to have a clever Husband. Due you like him and Can I like him I hope to but what makes them a scorne the serey money [ceremony] it is soon sed if they like but hough I talke.8

I have bin ought to inquier a bought sending a letter to Mrs. Drewrey aboute your Book.9 I shall send you a Bill by the packit David Potts will get one.1 I hope Salley will write by this vesill if not by the packit I hope to see Capt. Folkener to day. I will send you sume No Cake if I can. I had sum sente to me from Nantucket. Our Nabours all send thair love to you. Good Hugh Evens and our Nabor Derberah spente yisterday with me.2 I Cante tell you hough maney pepel inquier after you. Our poor Nabor Sumain is in a verey poor way3 indead you will see that Jonas Green is Dead we loos by him I supose but by Packit I shall send you Mr. Ringolds letter or a Copey.4 Mr. Foxcroft5 is not Cum back yit but he was well the laste his Brother heard from him.

[April 29]

April the 29 this day Mr. Whorton the Elder6 come and Satt with me and had sume chatt on several a Countes sume on Salleys I was so free as to tell him in what maner I had ackted and have his apprebashon.

I send in a Judg the No Cake.7 It is of two Sortes. I presente sum of it to Mr. Hugh Robortes who liked it. I hope you will if you stay till it arives I hope you got the tin Tube safe with what was in it.8 Salley writes. I was in hopes to a sente a Bill But Mr. John Potts is verey ill and two nights ago one of his Sones Came downe for a Dr. and his Son is gon up so I muste defer it tell he Comes down which I hope will be time aneuef for the Packit.9 My Cusin Cash is better agen as is Cusin Northe1 who I thought wold a lefte us be for this time. My love ones more to good Mrs. and Miss Stephens to our Dear Salley Franklin. I wish our Friend Robertes had a shaid [shade] of yours. He dus admier this verey much but I Cante parte with it.2

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

1Faintly discernible at the top is “April 2” but no second digit for the day is evident. Many matters in the body of the letter establish the year as 1767 and the third paragraph makes certain that DF wrote most of it during the week following Easter Sunday, which in 1767 fell on April 19. Poor Richard improved, 1767. A date between April 20 and 25 appears therefore to be correct, and is confirmed by DF’s statement in the fourth paragraph that she has just heard that “Capt. Friend is a Coming up.” Pa. Chron. April 20–27, 1767, reported that the Carolina, Capt. Friend, had arrived from London “Since our last.”

2To judge from DF’s comments on its contents this was not BF’s short letter of February 6, but one of several he said he was writing her by different conveyances at about the same time.

3The editors have found no information about the mother of the English Sally Franklin (A. and wife of Thomas Franklin of Lutterworth. The girl was again visiting Mrs. Stevenson and BF in Craven Street. Captain Nathaniel Falconer of the Pennsylvania Packet was an old friend.

4William Maugridge, a joiner and an original member of the Junto, had acquired a farm in Bucks Co. from the father of Daniel Boone. He had procured a mortgage on it from the Philadelphia Contributionship in 1754 with BF guaranteeing the interest, and in 1762 a second mortgage directly from BF. He appears to have died in the latter part of 1766 after bequeathing his property to his daughter, Sarah Drury, wife of an innkeeper of Reading. See above, XII, 351 n; and J. Bennett Nolan, “Ben Franklin’s Mortgage on the Daniel Boone Farm,” APS Proc., LXXXVII (1943–44), 394–7. The neighbor whose help DF enlisted in investigating the state of BF’s claims was Charles Thomson.

5Thomas Potts (1735–1796), son of BF’s old friend John Potts, and Thomas Rutter, an active citizen and justice of the peace, who had married Thomas Potts’s sister Martha.

6David Potts (1741–1798), brother of Thomas and also of Jonathan (1745–1781), who had traveled to Great Britain with Benjamin Rush the previous fall for medical education and had brought letters of recommendation to BF.

7Some time after the death in 1751 of Benjamin Rush’s father, John Rush, his mother, Sarah, had married Richard Morris, a brewer.

8Above, XIII, 530–1, 531–2.

9Not found.

1Here DF introduces, somewhat indirectly, the great matter of Richard Bache and his courtship of Sally Franklin. As BF later reported, both young people wrote him about their interest in each other, but their letters have not been found. Richard Bache (1737–1811) was born in Settle in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the son of William and Mary Bache. The family’s name was originally Bêche or de la Bêche, and one tradition traces the family back to the Norman Conquest. In England the name seems to have been pronounced Beech, but in America it is pronounced to rhyme with the eighth letter of the alphabet, “H.” In 1751 Richard’s elder brother, Theophylact (1735–1807), migrated to New York, where he became a merchant. DAB. Richard joined him in 1765 but moved to Philadelphia, probably during the first months of the next year. Two weeks after the Philadelphia newspapers reported the repeal of the Stamp Act, Bache’s first advertisement for his store in Chestnut Street appeared in both the Gazette and the Journal, June 5, 1766. It announced the arrival of a considerable assortment of what Americans today would call dry goods, which he described as “European and East-India goods.” These had been shipped from London on one of the first vessels to reach Philadelphia after the repeal of the Stamp Act and the expected end of the colonial ban on importations from Great Britain. At the start Bache’s financial position seems to have been very shaky, to say the least, but in time his mercantile business became firmly established. Through his marriage to Sarah Franklin, Richard Bache is an ancestor of every direct descendant of Benjamin Franklin known to be resident in the United States today.

2Sally’s feminine guests probably were: Anne and Fanny Moore, daughters of William Moore, whose seat was Moore Hall; Abigail and Mary Franks, the elder daughters of David Franks; John Ross’s daughter Catherine; John Inglis’ daughter Katherine or Catherine, who had returned from a school in Scotland in 1763; and a daughter of either Isaac or Samson Levy, both Philadelphia merchants. The masculine guests appear to have been: Richard Nicolls Colden, son of Alexander Colden the New York postmaster, and an ensign in the 42nd Highlanders (apparently a suitor of Kitty Ross); Richard Bache; and Thomas Foxcroft, Philadelphia postmaster and brother of John, the deputy postmaster general.

3The offers of a seat in a carriage probably came from James Allen, son of the chief justice, and Richard Penn, then 32 years of age, the bachelor younger brother of the governor. It is pleasant to observe that political hostility to BF by elder members of the Allen and Penn families did not prevent younger members of those families from showing courteous attentions to BF’s daughter.

4Parson Richard Peters apparently wished to bring Miss Margaret Oswald (1736–1806) to tea. She was something of a “character” in the city, who in 1784 married the former chief justice of New Jersey, Frederick Smyth (above, XI, 97 n; 464 n). The party to the Falls of the Schuylkill appears to have been composed mostly of members of the Willing family (Mrs. Tench Francis was the former Anne Willing); Joseph Shippen, secretary of the province, was her first cousin. DF appears to mean that Shippen, Richard Bache, and Sally Franklin were the only members of the party who were not brothers or sisters of some other people in the group.

5On Captain Friend’s arrival see the first note to this letter. Captain Falconer and the Pennsylvania Packet did not sail until May 1; see below, p. 143.

6Among the Franklin Papers, APS, is a letter dated March 30, 1767, from the builder, Robert Smith, to Samuel Rhoads, who supervised the construction of BF’s house, asking if Rhoads could get Smith “fifty or sixty pounds on Account of Esqr: Franklin.” Smith said he had so far received £446 “or thereabouts” in payments and another £200 that BF had lent him as an advance, making a total of £646. He could not yet present a final account because the house had not yet been measured, but he believed the whole charge would finally amount to £780, and he was at the moment “in great need of money.” Apparently DF’s payment of £30 toward the end of April was for the purpose of relieving Smith’s financial stringency. Nothing is known about the payment to the carter.

7The “blue room” was the large east room on the third floor of the new Franklin house; also sometimes called the music room; above, XII, 294 n.

8The identity of Polly Stevenson’s suitor at this time is not known; nothing came of the affair. From DF’s remarks here it would appear that BF had reported some talk of avoiding a church marriage ceremony.

9Probably a reference to BF’s claims under his mortgage from Mrs. Drury’s father, William Maugridge, mentioned in an earlier note.

1On August 5 BF acknowledged receiving a bill of exchange from Potts.

2Possibly a Hugh Evans who had served in the Assembly from Philadelphia Co., 1746–55, and who died in 1772, aged 90; Pa. Gaz., Apr. 9, 1772. “Nabor Derberah” has not been identified.

3DF had repeatedly mentioned illnesses of the Surnaines in 1766.

4Jonas Green (1712–1767), printer, learned his trade from his father, Timothy, in New London, Conn., worked in Boston and for both BF and Andrew Bradford in Philadelphia, and moved to Annapolis, Md., in 1738, where he became printer to the province. His Maryland Gazette, begun in 1745, was one of the important colonial newspapers. He died on April 11, 1767, and his widow, assisted by one son, took over the business. DAB. His connection with BF had been close enough at one time for BF to include Green’s name along with his own in the imprint lines of part of the press run of the 1744 Poor Richard’s Almanack. Thomas Ringgold, Maryland merchant and anti-proprietary leader, was agent for Franklin & Hall in his province; above, IX, 386 n; XI, 108 n.

5John Foxcroft, not his brother Thomas who had attended Sally’s recent card party.

6Probably Joseph Wharton, BF’s “good old true Friend” (above, XI, 451), not his elder son Thomas.

7The nocake DF received from Nantucket and sent to BF in a jug was meal made from parched Indian corn.

8The “tin Tube” contained the scions of apple trees Lewis Morris and Hugh Roberts had sent BF in February at his request; above, p. 58.

9BF’s friend John Potts, above, XI, 484 n. He survived until June 6, 1768, though his will is dated April 24, 1767. Mrs. Thomas Potts, Memorial of Thomas Potts, Junior, Who Settled in Pennsylvania … (Cambridge, Mass., 1874), pp. 105, 106–12.

1For DF’s relatives in the Cash and North families, see the charts, above, VIII, 139–41; but which individuals she referred to here has not been established.

2Probably a reference to a medallion made by Josiah Wedgwood based on a wax representation of BF’s profile by Isaac Gosset. DF had received such a “profile” in December 1766 and had reported the enthusiastic approval of those who had seen it; above, XIII, 523.

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