Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Deborah Franklin, [25 March? 1756]

To Deborah Franklin

ALS (fragment): American Philosophical Society

[Williamsburg, March 25? 1756]8

… about 5 aClock in the Afternoon,9 tho’ I had been hinder’d near half a Day by Peter’s Illness. The 3d Day about 2 in the Afternoon, we sail’d, after parting with Col. Washington, who overtook us there, and proceeded on his Journey by Land.1 We were only Sunday Night and Monday Night on the Water, for on Tuesday Morning about 10 aClock, we arrived at Col. Hunter’s near Hampton,2 40 Miles below this Place, where I was received in the most obliging Manner, and the next Day came hither. Mr. Hunter3 is not very ill at present, but looks thin. Mr. Balfour4 was very obliging to me on the Passage, which was a very pleasant one. And here in less than four Days I find my self in the midst of Spring; Peaches on the Trees as big as Kidney Beans, and Asparagus on the Tables they say they have had these three Weeks. I am uncertain yet as to the time of my Return, or the Way I shall take. My Horses5 are at the Head of the Bay at Mr. Milliken’s, on Bohemia. [Thu]s I may return up the Bay by Water, or go to New York in the Man [of Wa]r if she goes soon; or perhaps I may get Horses here, and ramble up thro’ [the Cou]ntry to Annapolis.

The Money I left with you, belonging to Col. Hunter, in a seal’d Bag, [give] to Mr. Nelson6 when he calls for it, taking his Receipt.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8See the first footnote to the preceding document for the date of this letter. The top of the sheet is torn off at the fold.

9See above, p. 425, for BF’s journey from Philadelphia and arrival in Fredericktown, Md., on March 20.

1George Washington had been in Philadelphia, March 17–19, on his way from Boston to Williamsburg. Pa. Gaz., March 18, 1756; John C. Fitzpatrick, George Washington, Colonial Traveller, 1732–1775 (Indianapolis, 1927), pp. 94–5.

2Col. John Hunter (above, p. 232 n), Virginia merchant, whose home, “Little England,” was near Hampton. He is usually designated in BF’s correspondence by his military title.

3William Hunter (above, V, 18 n), Virginia printer and joint deputy postmaster general with BF.

4Probably James Balfour (fl. 1744–67), merchant, planter, and justice of the peace of Elizabeth City Co., Va., who resided at “Little England,” after John Hunter moved to England in 1766. Like Hunter, Balfour was associated with the English merchant house of Thomlinson & Hanbury. William W. Hening, The Statutes at Large; being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia (Richmond, 1819), V, 370; Wm. and Mary Quar., 1st ser., XX (1920), 173, 209; Justices of the Peace of Colonial Virginia, 1757–1775, Va. State Lib. Bulletin XIV (1922), 66, 71, 79; James Balfour to BF, Aug. 1, 1766.

5The remainder is written vertically in the left margin, the beginning of each line being lost because of the tear at the top of the sheet. There is no signature at the apparent end.

6See above, p. 223 n.

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