Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Jane Mecom, 21 February 1757

To Jane Mecom

MS not found; reprinted from Jared Sparks, ed., A Collection of the Familiar Letters and Miscellaneous Pieces of Benjamin Franklin (Boston, 1833), p. 48.

Philadelphia, 21 February, 1757.

Dear Sister,

I am glad to hear your son is got well home.6 I like your conclusion not to take a house for him till summer, and if he stays till his new letters arrive, perhaps it would not be amiss; for a good deal depends on the first appearance a man makes. As he will keep a bookseller’s shop, with his printing-house, I don’t know but it might be worth his while to set up at Cambridge.

I enclose you some whisk seed; it is a kind of corn, good for creatures; it must be planted in hills, like Indian corn.7 The tops make the best thatch in the world; and of the same are made the whisks you use for velvet. Pray try if it will grow with you. I brought it from Virginia. Give some to Mr. Cooper, some to Mr. Bowdoin.8

Love to cousin Sally, and her spouse.9 I wish them and you much joy. Love to brother, &c.

B. Franklin.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6On Benjamin Mecom’s plans to return to Boston and set up a printing office and bookshop there see above, p. 68. After some months of occasional work in the printing shop of Zachariah Fowle, Mecom operated a press of his own “opposite to the Old Brick Church” in Boston. His work was said to be “correct and good,” though Isaiah Thomas thought him eccentric and somewhat dandified. Thomas, Printing, I, 143–4, 337–9, 349–52.

7BF sent some of the same seed (sorghum vulgare, or broom corn) to Samuel Ward, Catharine Ray’s brother-in-law, a month later. See below, p. 154.

8Samuel Cooper and James Bowdoin. On both see above, IV, 69 n.

9Jane Mecom’s daughter Sarah (C. 17.5) had married William Flagg, March 18, 1756. Their first child, Jane (C.17.5.1) was born Jan. 25, 1757.

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