Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Mary Hewson, 30 May 1779

From Mary Hewson

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Kensington May 30. 79

My dear Sir

I left Cheam yesterday morning, my mother and children all well. My mother received your letter the day before, inclosed in one from young Alexander, informing her that his father was returned, and he should join him in a few days at Calais.1 I brought your milk pot, & lodged it at Mr Lechmere’s and wrote to Mr Alexander desiring him to take charge of it. The Copper vessel my mother gave to Dr Ingenhouez several weeks ago, and she believes he left London soon after, but we are not sure.2 My mother cannot recollect anything of the Buttons. The Pearces are well, they have now a son to their two daughters. I hope they will thrive, for I believe indeed he is a very industrious good man, and she does as much as she can. Mrs Wilkes has lately taken a house at Richmond for the accommodation of young ladies, and as there was a detached apartment sufficient for Pearce’s family & business she offered it to him rent-free, this will be a help to them. Mr W. is going to Algiers.3 I write in great haste therefore can only add my mother’s love & she begs you will not be in a hurry about the account. Mrs Blunt sends her love and thanks for your letter.4 Adieu! my dear Sir. I wish we could meet! Your affectionate

Mary Hewson

Addressed: Dr Franklin

Notation: Mary Hewson May 30. 1779—

1BF’s letter to Margaret Stevenson is missing. The “young Alexander” is probably William Alexander’s eldest son, William (XXV, 364–5n).

2BF received neither his milk pot nor this letter until Ingenhousz delivered them by hand in early 1780; see BF to Mary Hewson, Jan. 10, 1780, and Ingenhousz to BF, Nov. 18, 1779 (both at the APS). For the copper vessel see Margaret Stevenson’s letter printed under March 16.

3For James and Sally Franklin Pearce, who had received financial assistance from Dorothea Blunt in 1776, and BF and Polly’s old friend Elizabeth Wilkes, see XXII, 590n, 595. Elizabeth’s husband Israel, elder brother of the notorious politician, John Wilkes, had been disappointed by his lack of financial success and was going to Africa in search of business opportunities. Horace Bleackley, Life of John Wilkes (London, New York, and Toronto, 1917), pp. 167, 366.


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