Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Deborah Franklin, 14 January 1758

To Deborah Franklin

MS not found; reprinted from Duane, Works, VI, 28–9.

London, January 14, 1758.

Dear Debby,

I wrote a very long letter to you lately, two whole sheets full, containing answers to all yours received during my sickness.8 I have since received your kind favours of November 13 and November 16th. It has given me great concern that you should be so disappointed in having no letters by captain Luthwycke; you know by this time how it happened;9 but I wonder you should expect letters from me, by the way of Ireland; it being quite out of my knowledge, when vessels are to sail from thence.

I am thankful to God for sparing my little family in that time of general sickness, and hope to find them all well, at my return. The New York paper you sent me was the latest that came, and of use to our friend, Strahan.1 He has offered to lay me a considerable wager, that a letter he has wrote to you will bring you immediately over hither;2 but I tell him I will not pick his pocket; for I am sure there is no inducement strong enough to prevail with you to cross the seas. I would be glad if I could tell you when I expected to be at home, but that is still in the dark; it is possible I may not be able to get away this summer; but I hope, if I stay another winter, it will be more agreeable than the greatest part of the time I have hitherto spent in England. But however I must bring my business to some conclusion.

I received Sally’s letter of November 12th,3 but cannot now write to her. I wrote to my friends generally by last packet,4 and shall write to them again by a ship of Mr. Ralph’s,5 to sail from here in about a fortnight. I am not yet quite so hearty as before my illness; but I think I am daily stronger and better, so I hope I have had my seasoning; but much writing still disorders me.

My duty to mother, and love to Sally, Debby, Mr. Dunlap,6 and all friends that inquire after me. I am, my dear child, Your ever loving husband,

B. Franklin.

Billy presents his duty to you and mother, and love to his sister.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Probably that of Nov. 22–Dec. 3, 1757; see above, pp. 272–9.

9Capt. Walter Lutwidge of the packet General Wall, on which BF had sailed to England, left Falmouth on Sept. 2, 1757, and reached New York on October 15. N.-Y. Mercury, Oct. 17, 1757. See above, pp. 243, 245, for BF’s first letters to his wife after reaching England.

1William Strahan’s paper, The London Chronicle, Jan. 10, 1758, published nearly two columns of news from America, much the same as had appeared in the N.-Y. Mercury on Nov. 14, 1757.

2See above, pp. 295–8.

3Not found.

4The packet Halifax left Falmouth about Dec. 12, 1757, and arrived in New York on Jan. 19, 1758. N.-Y. Mercury, Jan. 23, 1758. Of such letters only an abstract of one to William Coleman, December 8, and one to David Hall, December 9, have been found.

5Or Relfe; see above, p. 276 n. The ship in question may have been part of the large convoy which gathered in the Downs in late January and sailed for America on Feb. 25, 1758. London Chron., Jan. 31 and Feb. 28, 1758.

6I.e., DF’s mother Sarah Read, Sally Franklin, DF’s niece Deborah Croker Dunlap, and William Dunlap, now Philadelphia postmaster.

Index Entries