Franklin’s List of New Year’s Gifts and Gratuities6
D: University of Pennsylvania Library
|29[-31]th. Decr. 1778.||Livs|
|Two embroider’d Work Bag’s||18||—|
|Work Bag, with small Box &ca||21||—|
|2 small Ivory Cases with silver Pens||8|
|2 small Busts7 of Dr. Franklin||12.||l.t.—|
|2 Horn Boxes||40.||—|
|1 Set of Tea things & Tea board||72.||—|
|Small spinning Wheel||60|
|2 Medallions of Dr F.||24.||.—|
|2 small Busts of Do.8||12.||—|
|To the Commissr. from the Manure.—[Manufacture]||1.||4.|
|To Mr Brillons Servants.—||48||—|
|(Total 13 Louis 11 Livs. 4 sls).||£323.||.4|
Notation: Dec. 29 1778.
6. Some of these presents seem destined to young girls, perhaps the Brillon daughters, Cunégonde and Aldegonde, and the Le Veillard daughter, Geneviève. The “Small spinning Wheel” is reminiscent of BF’s gift to his sister Jane some fifty-two years previously, when he advised her that “the character of a good housewife was far preferable to that of being only a pretty gentlewoman”: see I, 100. The list is in WTF’s hand.
7. Here, and below, WTF first wrote “bursts” and then corrected it.
8. These may have been the Sèvres porcelain medallions, which were also known to contemporaries as “busts.” The account books of the manufacture of Sèvres reveal that their price was 6 l.t. apiece. Ten of them were sold on Sept. 30, 1778, and eighteen on Feb. 10, 1779: Archives nationales, microfilm 54AQ, 35Mi, fol. 36; 35Mi5, fol. 93. See also Charles C. Sellers, Benjamin Franklin in Portraiture (New Haven and London, 1962), pp. 108, 135, 365–7.