Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Deborah Franklin, [13–18 October? 1767]

From Deborah Franklin

ALS: American Philosophical Society

[October 13–18? 17673]

My Dear Child

I have reseved all your letters down to July 3d the laste by mr. Nevese4 whare in you say that by the packit you shall anser all mine and your friends letters by Folkener Friend and the Packit but that is arived and no letter from you to aneybodey which is verey surpriseing to them I say that I thinke you have wrote but by sum mistake thay was not put on borde the packit and will I hope cume by Capt. Folkener.

I have wrote a long letter and ansered all your qustens but donte send it tell I reseve yours for I shold not like aney one eles to have the reading of it not that it containes aney thing but famely a faires.5 I have menshoned to Naney to go backe but shee is not in Clind but I am told that shee is aire to nighn Hundreds a yeare.6 I raly wish it was trew. Salley writes by the packites and that is to go to morrow. I send this by our nabor mr. Rolfe.7 Capt. Budin and his Brother Jemey Budin asked me for letters but as I am so verey poor a writer I menshon them in this letter.8

Yisterday Cosin Devenporte Come to tell me that Polley Mecume was dead.9 I had a Letter from [sister] laste Sunday by one Capt. Parker who was to Cole on me for Sistur Franklins Close1 as I had desired Sister to get one to Cole on me for them and sume of yours for poor Petter who is still a live.2 I shold not a disposed of aney thing of yours but the mothe is got in them for all the Caire I Cold take so now to tell you Sister wrote me word that Polley was gon to Nantuckit and shee had heard that shee was better but the Capt. of this vesill had Cold att Nantuckit and that Polley was dead. I have not seen him but shall and will inquier about it and send word as Salley writes tomorrow. I shall say no more that shee is better then shee has bin all sumer but much disopinted as was mr. Beache.3 You will hear by your friends how the Eleckshon is. John writes [Wright’s] widdow is Dead4 as is our mrs. Mockridg and Capt. Arther5 I have wrote in my letter that is to go after I hear. I own it will be along one. Mr. Dufell is very much plesed with his presente and beges you to excepte his beste thankes for it6 he his wife and Children sendes thare Love and Dutey to you. Shee has two to show you that you never saw and shee is but Jeste recoverd of a leying in of a Dead Child. mr. Galleway ses he has wrote about Polley pitts shee is heare att this time shee sendes her Dutey to you.7

Be so good as to give my beste Compleymentes to good mrs. Stephenson and to our Dear Polley and to our Salley Frankelin. I love her so far as London.

Now I am to retarne you thankes for the Picktuer8 for the Hankescher I gave Salley al of them thay is verey hansum and for the pettey Cotes. Salley had the fineste of them I admier the negleagia verey much and the Cote is verey buteyfull the hood and hankitcher is quite fhantcy the apron all so. I have not heard from Billey senes I sente his things up but I supose he reseved them safe as Cusin Worddel and Dafter wente in the boote and I desired her to tell Billey I had sente them up.

Mr. Foxcrofes air bouth well9 as is our Nabor Thomsons1 and I have heard that mrs. Grase and Dafter and her three Dafter is well and all but mr. Potts Sener.2 Now I am to tell you that our Sukey Shippen is marreyed it was a sorte of a run a way afaire all thow it is to a parson.3 He was Cold to Boston and setteld thair and it had all moste kiled him and Sukey so after a year he come back and he apered on a satter[?] evening and on the thusday after shee lefte her fathers house and was marreyed at her Ante Willins and wente to her husbands mothers and is returned to her fathers agen but wather he has seen her I cante say but I am told that he is chosen Preseydente of Prinseton Colledg and is to be thair in a yeare but her father is so distreste abought her leveing of him for that time that he wonte let aney bodey say aney thing to him about it. I have bin over to see mrs. Shippen and comforte her as well as I can.

I have seen Cusin willkissin4 shee sendes her love to you as Dus Cusin Northe5 who I saw laste evening in my way Home from seeing Tomey Bondes wife6 who has bureyed her eldeste Dafter who has lefte seven children. Mrs. Bond and I air old aquintans and I took sum paines to see her. Billey Master has Bureyd his only son and his wife is as low as Can be and a live.7

I have borrowed a kee and opened E Browns8 trunke as did the Printer sume time a go that he wrote two to take caire of his tickit butt I shold a sed that when mrs. Rakeshaw asked me to take the Cair of his trunke shee told me the kee was loste so I did not know what was in it but one day I saw in the Closit a Cote that I did not know. I asked Gorge hough it came thair he sed mrs. Rakeshaw sente it but laste evening I borrowed the kee agen that opened the trunke I found no lite Colored Clothe Cote but I send the Cote and jackit and the jackit lined with green. Thair is no pockit Book nor was thair aney when the printer and Naney looked for it before so shold a sente the No of it and of who he bought it. I shall aske young Budin to take his close now this is ocktober 19 Jemey Budin has a Cote and two Jackites in his cheste for E Brown.


I have had Such a unsetld time with what did not Conserne me about roses[?]9 and seeing so maney straingers and poor mrs. Nelson1 and so on that you will reseve the letters not as I did in tend but as it falls ought but the Packit will saile the end of this weeke and this minit I hear that Capt. Egdon is to saile att a 11 o clocke.2 Salley send her Duty and note by J Budin I am your Afeckshonet wife

D Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3The first part of this letter is undated, though the last part was written on October 19. On Thursday, Oct. 8, 1767, Pa. Gaz. and Pa. Jour. both reported the arrival of the sloop Three Friends, Capt. T. Parker, from Boston. Pa. Chron., published on Mondays, did not report this entry in the issue of October 5, but only in that of the 12th, so Parker probably reached Philadelphia sometime between Sunday, the 4th, and Wednesday, the 7th. In the third paragraph DF mentions that Captain Parker called on her “laste Sunday,” almost certainly meaning October 11; hence she probably began this letter sometime between Tuesday, October 13, and Sunday, October 18.

4Samuel Neave, a Philadelphia merchant who had been in London since 1765 (above, XII, 136, 314), had carried one of BF’s two short letters to DF of July 3, 1767 [I; II]; above, p. 206.

5No long letter such as DF describes here has been found.

6Ann Hardy, apparently some sort of a relative of the Stevensons, who had been living at the Franklin Philadelphia home; above, X, 334 n. The Stevenson-Franklin correspondence mentions no such large inheritance as this, though some much smaller amounts drawn in her favor appear in BF’s accounts.

7John Relfe was a Philadelphia merchant who appears to have taken several business trips to England; above, VII, 276 nx; X, 234 n. A commission in bankruptcy was issued against him while he was in London and he was declared a bankrupt from Dec. 20, 1767. Pa. Chron., May 23–30, 1768.

8Capt. William Budden, often mentioned in these volumes, cleared for London in the ship Tryall during this week. Pa. Gaz., Oct. 15, 1767. James Budden was advertising European and East India goods for sale in his Front Street store in May 1768. Pa. Chron., May 2–9, 1768.

9Mary (Polly) Mecom (C.17.11), the younger of Jane Mecom’s two surviving daughters, died Sept. 19, 1767, at the home of her relative Keziah Folger Coffin (B. on Nantucket. DF’s informant was Josiah Franklin Davenport (C.12.4), BF’s nephew, now trying various enterprises in Philadelphia.

1The clothes of Mary Harmon Franklin, widow of BF’s brother Peter (C.9). She had died in Philadelphia, Aug. 14, 1766; above, XIII, 338 n.

2Peter Franklin Mecom (C.17.6), the insane son of Jane Mecom. In 1763 BF had acquired possession of the Boston house formerly occupied by Jane’s and his eldest sister, Elizabeth Douse, now deceased, and he then arranged for the rental of the property and the payment of the income to Jane for Peter’s support; above, X, 384.

3This disappointment may well have been caused by the receipt of BF’s letter of August 5 to Richard Bache, in which he had tried to discourage the young people from marriage at this time; above, pp. 220–1. In spite of BF’s advice, they were married on October 29.

4This news may relate to the widow of either John Wright, Sr. (c. 1667–1749), or his son of the same name (d. 1763), both of whom lived at Hemphill on the Susquehanna.

5The widow of William Maugridge (d. 1766), carpenter and joiner, and an original member of the Junto; above, XII, 351 n. Capt. Joseph Arthur, Sr., had been a ship’s captain; above, VII, 237 n.

6In June BF had sent a copy of a book on Harrison’s chronometer for Edward Duffield, clock and watchmaker of Lower Dublin, Philadelphia Co.; above, p. 192.

7On the Pitts affair, see above, p. 191 n. Galloway’s letter about it has not been found.

8The “shade” mentioned in BF’s letter of June 22. Some of the other articles DF acknowledged in this paragraph were also mentioned in that letter. A letter from Mrs. Stevenson to DF, Sept. 18, 1767 (APS) mentions the silk and the negligee that she had sent, hoping that these had been requested in connection with Sally’s wedding.

9John Foxcroft, joint deputy postmaster general, and his brother, Thomas, postmaster at Philadelphia.

1Charles Thomson and his family.

2Rebecca Nutt Grace had one daughter by her first marriage, Anna Nutt, who married Thomas Potts, son of John Potts. By her second marriage, she had three daughters, Rebecca Grace (b. 1760), Martha Grace (b. 1764), and Elizabeth Grace (b. 1766). The illness of John Potts (“Mr. Potts Sener”) has been mentioned in several letters.

3Susannah Shippen (1743–1821), youngest child of Dr. William Shippen (above, III, 428), married the Reverend Samuel Blair (1741–1818) at the Abington Presbyterian Church, Montgomery Co., Pa., Sept. 23 or 24, 1767. He was the son of the Presbyterian clergyman of the same name (1712–1751; DAB) who had been pastor at Fogg’s Manor, Pa. The son graduated from the College of New Jersey, 1760, and served as pastor of the Old South Church, Boston, 1765–69, resigning over doctrinal differences. Upon John Witherspoon’s initial refusal of the presidency of the College of New Jersey in 1766, Blair accepted the position when it was offered to him, but withdrew when trustees persuaded Witherspoon to change his mind. W.B. Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit, III (N.Y., 1859), 268–70; Franklin B. Dexter, ed., Literary Diary of Ezra Stiles (N.Y., 1901), I, 86–7, 370–1.

4Elizabeth North Wilkinson (E.2.3), a first cousin once removed of DF.

5Possibly John North (E.2.6), or his wife Sarah.

6Sarah Venables Bond, wife of the elder Dr. Thomas Bond. Their daughter’s name has not been found.

7Sarah Masters, daughter of Evan Morgan and wife of William Masters, aged 28, was buried in Christ Church Yard, May 20, 1768. Her tombstone also records the death of a William Masters, age and date unrecorded, who was probably the “only son” referred to here. The father died in 1788, aged 53, and was buried in an adjacent grave with a separate stone. Edward L. Clark, A Record of the Inscriptions on the Tablets and Grave-Stones in the Burial-Grounds of Christ Church, Philadelphia (Phila., 1864), p. 8.

8Ephraim Brown, adopted son of BF’s deceased brother and sister-in-law, Peter and Mary Franklin. He was now in England. The “tickit” he had written for was probably a lottery ticket. The Mrs. “Rakeshaw” mentioned in this paragraph was probably a friend of Ephraim Brown or of his adoptive parents. George was the Franklin’s Negro servant.

9Possibly a reference to members of the Ross family.

1An Englishwoman who had come over in January 1766, apparently to take domestic employment in a New Jersey family, possibly WF’s; above, XIII, 30, 34.

2The clearance of the schooner Ellis, Capt. S.R. Egdon, for London was reported in Pa. Chron., Oct. 12–19, 1767.

3This dating appears at the end of this letter in this position. It is uncertain whether the indicated day of the month relates to more than the last lines of the body of the letter and the postscript.

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