To Deborah Franklin
ALS: American Philosophical Society
London, June 10. 1770
My dear Child,
I received your kind Letters of March 12 and April 24. I think you are the most punctual of all my Correspondents; and it is often a particular Satisfaction to me to hear from you, when I have no Letter from any one else.
I did per Capt. Falconer answer Sally’s Letter about her Son’s being inoculated; and told her Sir John Pringle’s Opinion as to the Probability of his not having the Small Pox hereafter. I think he advised, as no Eruption appeared, to make sure of the thing by inoculating him again.5 I rejoice much in the Pleasure you appear to take in him. It must be of Use to your Health, the having such an Amusement. My Love to him, and to his Father and Mother.
Capt. Ourry is gone abroad as a travelling Tutor to Lord Galway’s Son;6 Mrs. Strahan is at Bath; Mr. Strahan and Children, Mr. and Mrs. West and their Son,7 are all well at present, tho’ Mr. West himself has had a long Illness. They always enquire after you and I present your Compliments. Poor Nanny was drawn in to marry a worthless Fellow, who got all her Money and then ran away and left her. So she is return’d to her old Service with Mrs. Stevenson, poorer than ever, but seems pretty patient, only looks dejected, sighs sometimes, and wishes she had never left Philadelphia.8 Mr. Montgomery died at Sea, as we have lately heard, and Mrs. Montgomery, who has lain in at Lisbon, will return from thence with her Boy to Philadelphia.9
As to myself, I had from Christmas till Easter, a disagreable Giddiness hanging about me, which however did not hinder me from being about and doing Business. In the Easter Holidays being at a Friend’s House in the Country, I was taken with a Sore Throat, and came home half strangled. From Monday till Friday I could swallow nothing but Barley Water and the like. I was bled largely and purged two or three times. On Friday came on a Fit of the Gout, from which I had been free Five Years. Immediately the Inflammation and Swelling in my Throat disappeared; my Foot swelled greatly, and I was confined about three Weeks;1 since which I am perfectly well, the Giddiness and every other disagreeable Symptom having quite left me. I hope your Health is likewise by this time quite re-establish’d; being as ever, my dear Child, Your affectionate Husband
5. Sally’s inquiry and BF’s answer have been lost, but her acknowledgment of the latter is printed above at the end of May, and makes clear that Sir John did advise a second inoculation.
6. For Lewis Ourry see above, VII, 62 n. William Monckton (after 1769 Monckton Arundell), second Viscount Galway, had two sons; the younger, Robert (1752–1810), who succeeded his brother in 1774 as fourth viscount, seems the more likely one to have been making the Grand Tour.
7. The senior Strahans and Wests need no introduction. The Strahan children were William, his father’s former partner, who had by now left home and apparently set up his own printing business; George, then a fellow at Oxford and, in his mother’s phrase, “breeding for a clergyman”; Andrew, overseer of his father’s printing business; and Peggy (Margaret Penelope), BF’s “little Wife,” who had finished school and was living at home. See Mrs. Strahan to David Hall, Jan. 16, 1770, APS; above, X, 169 n. The Wests’ young son Raphael was about six at the time: Charles H. Hart, “Benjamin West’s Family …,” PMHB, XXXII (1908), 9–10.
8. Ann Hardy, Mrs. Stevenson’s servant, had spent several years in America, some of them with the Franklins in Philadelphia; see above, XIV, 279. The runaway husband was named Elliot.
9. The Montgomerys were a Delaware family. Robert (1743–70) died on April 28 on his brig in the Bay of Gibraltar, returning from a voyage in the Mediterranean that he had made in hopes of recovering his health. His wife was the former Dorcas Armitage of Newcastle, Del.; she gave birth to his son Robert (1770–1809) at Valformosa, near Lisbon. Thomas H. Montgomery, A Genealogical History of the Family of Montgomery … (Philadelphia, 1863), p. 152.
1. The attack began on April 20. Thomas Coombe, writing to his father on May 5 (Hist. Soc. of Pa.), mentioned that he was dining that evening with BF, who had been confined for a fortnight with gout but appeared to be tolerably well recovered.