Benjamin Franklin Papers
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From Benjamin Franklin to Jane Mecom, 26 December 1783

To Jane Mecom

Reprinted from The London Magazine, new series, III (1825), 479.8

Passy. Dec 26. 1783.

Dear Sister,

Our Cousin, Mr. Williams, left London in June last, on his return to Boston. He carried some goods for you. I hope he arrived safe, though I have no Letter from him. I have since sent him a bill of exchange for your account on Dr. Cooper, and signified my desire that the whole might be put to interest to produce a little annual income for you.9

I hope you continue to enjoy health, one of the best of God’s blessings. He has been pleased to continue mine to me through a long life hitherto, and I feel myself still strong and vigorous. Too sedentary a life, occasioned by an employment that requires much writing, has brought upon me, sometimes the gout, and at length the stone. It has not yet become very painful, and if by the regimen I observe I can prevent its increase, it may, for the little time I can expect to live, be borne with.

I am soliciting leave to come home,1 which, if I can obtain, we may yet once more see each other before we die.— Till when, I am ever, my dear Sister, Your affectionate Brother,

B. Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8On March 28, 1825, a correspondent signing himself “D W B. Jr.” sent to the London Mag. copies of eight previously unpublished letters from BF to female family members: one to his mother, one to his daughter, and six to Jane Mecom. The correspondent explained that he had copied them from originals in the possession of BF’S family, and knew BF’s handwriting well enough to pronounce them genuine. In 2006 the Library Company of Philadelphia acquired a manuscript that appears to be a retained copy of the transmittal, including the cover letter and four additional items (three letters from WF to Jane Mecom and one fragment of a letter to Josiah Flagg). The Library Company argues convincingly that the manuscript is in the hand of William Duane, Jr., a son of BFB’S widow: The Annual Report of the Library Company of Philadelphia for the Year 2006 (Philadelphia, 2007), pp. 34–5. The London Mag. published these eight letters from BF, plus a ninth from BF to Jane Mecom, in the issues of August, November, and December, 1825. Two of them have not survived in any other form, including the present document. The other, which was overlooked by our predecessors, will be published in the addenda: BF to Jane Mecom, Aug. 19, 1762 in the London Mag., new ser., III (1825), 430.

9BF here repeats what he had written to Mecom on Sept. 13; see XL, 624–5, and Williams to BF, Dec. 20 (above).

1See letter (I) to Mifflin, immediately below.

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