Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Deborah Franklin, [24 March 1756]

To Deborah Franklin

ALS (fragment): American Philosophical Society

[Hampton, Va., March 24, 1756]6

Peter is now quite well.

Present my Duty to Mother, and Love to the Children, and to all Friends. I shall write more particularly per Post. This goes by a Vessel to New York.7 I am, Dear Debby, Your loving Husband

B Franklin

Addressed: To / Mrs Franklin / at / Philadelphia / via New-York

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6Of the four surviving letters BF wrote his wife after reaching Virginia, only one exists in full, and the date lines are missing from the remaining fragments of the other three. Among several possibilities the following sequence and tentative dating seem most consistent with the internal evidence:

(a) The fragment printed here, probably written the morning after arriving by boat at Col. John Hunter’s at Hampton on Tuesday, March 23. Perhaps done hurriedly to be conveyed via New York by an unexpected opportunity.

(b) The longer fragment assigned to Thursday, March 25 (printed immediately below), probably the letter referred to on the 30th as written “the Day after my arrival [in Williamsburg],” and fulfilling the promise “to write more particularly” made in (a) above.

(c) The complete letter from Williamsburg, March 30, 1756 (see below, p. 429).

(d) The fragment designated “[Hampton or Norfolk, c. April 5, 1756]” (below p. 431), which seems to have been written late in the visit to Virginia. BF and Hunter have come “down here” (probably to Norfolk, see below, p. 432) apparently on the “Tour into the Country” mentioned in the letter of the 30th as being planned for the end of the week. This would be BF’s “Third [Letter] since my Arrival here” if he considered (a) above to have been written while still on the journey to Williamsburg, his actual destination. The post-office business seems to be further advanced than in the letter of the 30th.

7Probably the schooner Kiquotan, Capt. Samuel Curle, which arrived in New York from Virginia on April 7. N.Y. Mercury, April 12, 1756.

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