To Abiah Franklin
MS not found; reprinted from Jared Sparks, ed., A Collection of the Familiar Letters and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Franklin (Boston, 1833), pp. 20–1.
Philadelphia, [April–May, 1752]3
We received by this post both your letters of April 13th and 20th.4 The account you give of poor little Biah grieves me, but I still hope the best. However, God’s will must be done. I rejoice that the rest of sister’s children and brother Davenport’s are likely to escape so well, and Mrs. Billings’s.5
Enclosed I send an order for six pistoles, which I believe will be paid on sight. I beg sister to accept four of them, and you the other two. I am your dutiful son,
3. Dated incorrectly 1751 by Sparks, but correctly by Van Doren (Franklin-Mecom, p. 47). The reference to “this post” suggests the end of April or, more probably, early May. “Poor little Biah”—Abiah Mecom, BF’s niece (C.17.12)—was born Aug. 1, 1751, and died, probably of smallpox, April 23, 1752, three days after BF’s mother wrote him on April 20.
4. Neither letter found.
5. James Davenport married Sarah Franklin (C.12) and, after her death in 1731, Mary Walker, by whom he had ten children, 1732–49. Mrs. Billings was the mother of the first wife (died April 1, 1751) of James and Sarah Davenport’s son Josiah (C.12.4).