Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from Jane Mecom, 13 June 1781

From Jane Mecom

ALS: American Philosophical Society

warwick June 13—1781

My Dear Brother

I Saw an article in our last paper under the London head, that Dr Franklin had Paid of [off] all his tradsmans Bills & was Prepareing to Leave Parris to Embark on Board won of the Ships at Brest for America,7 but as I have heard no such thing any other way I think it may be Rather what they wish, & what I should hartyly wish if it is consistant with your Honour as well as comfort. I am Determined to write by this opertunity by which if it comes quick to yr hands you may have a Ready & saif conveayance to me without the Roundabout ways by Post from Philadelphia or Boston.

It is so long since I have had a line from you that if I had not had a former Reprouf from you I should be almost Redy to conclud on the Last of the Six chances you then Discribed to me as Reasons for my not Recveing leters; that you were tiered of corisponding with me & Resolved to write no more, it is a year the 16th of last march since the last I receved from you was Dated & that was about Eight months coming to hand. I thing I can Recolect seven I have wrot in the time won by the same Vesel this is to go in Charls Jenkens master From Provedence who made so quick a Return.8 Prehaps you had not recd. it time anough to write by him but I think you must have got that at least. I wrot since by some French Gentleman who said he know you, to whome Genll. Greene’s wife conveyed it for I did not see him & I cannot Remember Names, I had no rembrance how I came by the Peece of the whig Sermon9 I inquiered of all I thotLike to have such a thing but found we are no Sermonizers in this Part of the country. I then sent it to Cousen Williams to serch the Printers Shops but he says it was not to be found & he carried it home & left it with His wife or Daughters & they have Lost it which I do not so much wonder at in the bustle of marrieing won of the young Ladys for such a circumstance Jeneraly taks the atention of all the famely. But I am sorry, for I sent to desier them to try Dr Cooper, Mr Lothorp, & Mr Stillman & if I was there I Dont Doubt I could find it by what I remember of it, but not corect anouf to write. I have heard nothing of my Neace or her famely at Philadelphia a long time, & know but litle how the world goes Exept seeing a Newspaper some times which contains Enough to give Pain but litle satisfaction while we are in Armes aganst Each other.

Parson Odell has been Exersiseing His Poetical Talant on yr Invention of the Chamber Fireplace1 it came to me throw the hands of Crasey Harry Badcock2 & I have half a mind to send it to you as I think it would make you Laugh but if you should be coming home it will Serve to Divert you hear, I contineu very Easey and happy hear have no more to trroble me than what is Incident to human Nature & can’t be avoided in any Place, I write now in my own litle chamber the window opening on won of the Pleasantest prospects in the country the Birds singing about me & nobod up in the house near me to Desturb me.

You will Readiely conclud from these circumstances I might have Performed beter, but I have lost my faculty if Ever I had any and my Dear Brother will exept sincerity in lieu of it from his Ever affectionat sister

Jane Mecom

My Grand son & Daughter have Desiered me to present there Duty, I want very much to hear all about Temple & benny. Pray present my love to them.

Addressed: Doctr. Franklin / at Passa near Paris / France

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7As it was reported in The Providence Gazette; and Country Journal of June 9, 1781, under a March 29, London, headline.

8Mecom indeed wrote BF more regularly than he wrote her. We find no letter from him dated March 16, 1780; his most recent extant one is that of Oct. 25, 1779 (XXX, 582–4), and his sister acknowledged it on March 27, 1780 (XXXII, 159). For her other recent letters see XXIX, 722–5; XXX, 148–50, 325–8; XXXIV, 200–3, 424–5.

Capt. Charles Jenkins had sailed from America on January 12, 1781, and carried Jane Mecom’s letter of Dec. 24 and Catharine Greene’s of Dec. 28. He was in Nantes by Feb. 9, 1781: XXXIV, 200–3, 218–19, 363.

9The sermon was Samuel Stillman’s A Sermon preached before the Honorable Council and House of Representatives of the State of Massachusetts-Bay, at Boston, May 26, 1779 (Boston, 1779); see Mecom’s letter of Oct. 29, below, and Van Doren, Franklin-Mecom, p. 212. A Baptist clergyman (1737–1807), Stillman was born in Philadelphia and received honorary M.A. degrees from the College of Philadelphia, Harvard, and Brown. The Massachusetts General Court invited him to deliver the annual election sermon in 1779. DAB. The other two clergyman Mecom mentions are Samuel Cooper and John Lathrop, Sr. The latter was the minister of the Second Church in Boston and a neighbor of Jane Mecom’s when she was living on Unity Street after her return to Boston in 1784: DAB under his son, John Lathrop; Lathrop to BF, Aug. 30, 1787 (APS); Van Doren, Franklin-Mecom, pp. 21–2, 25.

1Jonathan Odell, loyalist clergyman of Burlington, N.J. (XIII, 508n), was a friend and pastor to WF and had attended BFB’s christening in 1769. A well-known Tory verse satirist, in 1776 he wrote Inscription for a Curious Chamber-Stove, in the Form of an Urn, so contrived as to make the Flame descend, instead of rise, from the Fire: Invented by Doctor Franklin: XVI, 62, 188; XX, 63; Van Doren, Franklin-Mecom, 208.

2Probably Henry Babcock, the eldest son of BF’s old friend Joshua Babcock, a Rhode Island merchant, physician, and public official: VI, 174n; IX, 397n; Van Doren, Franklin-Mecom, p. 209.

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