Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Georgiana Shipley, 8 October 1780

To Georgiana Shipley

AL (draft): Library of Congress

Passy, Oct. 8. 1780

It is long, very long, my dear Friend, since I had the great Pleasure of hearing from you, and receiving any of your very pleasing Letters.4 But it is my fault. I have long omitted my Part of the Correspondence. Those who love to receive Letters should write Letters. I wish I could safely promise an Amendment of that Fault. But besides the Indolence attending Age, and growing upon us with it, my Time is engross’d by too much Business, and I have too many Inducements to postpone doing, what I feel I ought to do for my own Sake, & what I can never resolve to omit entirely.

Your Translations from Horace, as far as I can judge of Poetry & Translations, are very good. That of the Quò quò ruitis, is so suitable to the Times, that the Conclusion (in your Version) seems to threaten like a Prophecy, and methinks there is at least some Appearance of Danger that it may be fulfilled.—5 I am unhappily an Enemy, yet I think there has been enough of Blood spilt, and I wish what is left in the Veins of that once lov’d People, may be spared, by a Peace solid & everlasting.

It is a great while since I have heard any thing of the good Bishop. Strange that so simple a Character should sufficiently distinguish one of that sacred Body!— Donnez moi de ses Nouvelles.— I have been some time flatter’d with the Expectation of seeing the Countenance of that most honour’d & ever beloved Friend, delineated by your Pencil. The Portrait is said to have been long on the way, but is not yet arriv’d: Nor can I hear where it is.6

Indolent as I have confess’d myself to be, I could not, you see, miss this good & safe Opportunity of sending you a few Lines, with my best Wishes for your Happiness and that of the whole dear & amiable Family in whose sweet Society I have spent so many happy Hours. Mr Jones7 tells me he shall have a Pleasure in being the Bearer of my Letter, of which I make no doubt; I learn from him, that to your Drawing, & Music, & Painting & Poetry, & Latin, you have added a Proficiency in Chess; so that you are, as the French say, tout plein de Talens.8 May they & you fall to the Lot of One that shall duly value them, and love you as much as I do.


Miss Georgiana Shipley

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Two letters from her in 1780 are extant: XXXI, 444–5; XXXII, 432–3.

5“Quo quo scelesti ruitis”: Horace, Epodes, VII, I. It can be translated as “Whither, whither are you rushing to ruin?”

6For the drawing she had made of her father see Digges to BF, July 12 and Sept. 18.

7William Jones.

8BF had originally—and correctly—drafted the phrase in the feminine: “toute pleine de Talens”.

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