Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from William Franklin, 3 September 1758

From William Franklin

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Tunbridge Wells,9 Septr. 3, —58

Honoured Father

I miss’d writing on Friday and Yesterday no Post went from hence, otherwise I should before have acknowledgd the Receipt of your Favour of the 30th. Ulto.1 Mr. Jackson2 is prevented from setting off from here so soon as he intended by reason of the matrimonial Affair he mentioned to us not being quite settled. He says he has Letters from the Parties almost every Day, and was he to leave this Place they would not know where to direct to him; however he expects by Wednesday next to have Matters quite adjusted.3 Mr. Bridges goes with us as far as Mr. Rose Fuller’s,4 where it is intended to stay a Day or two. In a Fortnight from hence Mr. Jackson thinks it will be proper we should set off on our Norfolk Tour, and therefore proposes being in London some Days before.5 I am extremely oblig’d to you for your Care in supplying me with Money, and shall ever have a grateful Sense of that with the other numberless Indulgencies I have receiv’d from your paternal Affection. I shall be ready to return to America, or to go any other Part of the World, whenever you think it neccessary. We have chang’d our Lodgings to the House next adjoining, but much for the worse, tho’ somewhat cheaper. Mr. Hunter6 is now acquainted with a pretty many Persons, and is as fond of this Place as he was before averse to it.

Your Letter of Yesterday, with the agreeable News of the King of Prussias having defeated the Russians was very acceptable. It contain’d some Particulars which no one else had, and I had an Opportunity of obliging several by communicating them. There has been a Contribution of 1s. from each Gentleman and Lady towards Bonfires, firing of Guns, &c. for this Evening.7

Tomorrow I accompany Mr. Bridges’s Family to Penshurst.8 We went yesterday to survey the Roads when Mr. B’s Horse getting into a deep Slough threw him off, but he received little Damage except being much dirty’d. He with the rest of the Family desire to be kindly remember’d to you, as does Mr. Hunter. I am, Honoured Sir Your ever dutiful Son

Wm. Franklin

P.S. Please to give my best Respects to Miss Hunter,9 Mrs: Stevenson and such others as do me the Honour of enquiring after my Welfare.

Addressed: To / Benjamin Franklin, Esqr / at Mrs. Stevenson’s / Craven Street / London

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9For about two weeks at the end of August BF and WF vacationed at fashionable Tunbridge Wells, 36 miles southeast of London, described in 1766 as “in a most flourishing state, with a great number of good houses for lodgings, and all necessary accomodations for company; its customs are settled, its pleasures regulated, its markets and all other conveniences fixed, and the whole very properly adapted to the nature of a place, which is at once designed to give health and pleasure to all its visitants. … A place where town and country are so happily blended, as to afford all the advantages of retirement, whithout any of the inconveniences of solitude.” The daily routine included drinking the waters, concerts, country excursions, tea, visiting the bookshops, chapel, lectures, gambling, cards, horse-racing, balls, and endless promenading on the walks to “see and be seen” and engage in conversation. Thomas B. Burr, The History of Tunbridge-Wells (London, 1766), pp. 64–5, III. BF returned to London before the end of the month, leaving WF at Tunbridge Wells with friends whom he planned to accompany on further travels.

1Not found.

2Richard Jackson.

3The “matrimonial Affair” was not Jackson’s own, but one he was handling as a lawyer.

4Thomas Bridges (d. 1768), was married to Anne, Richard Jackson’s sister. William Berry, County Genealogies … of Kent (London, 1830), p. 494; New Haven Colony Hist. Soc., Papers, IX (1918), 277–9 n, 421. Rose Fuller (1716–1777?), of Sussex, studied at Cambridge and Leyden, M.D., F.R.S., M.P. from 1756 to 1777. Gerrit P. Judd IV, Members of Parliament, 1734–1832 (New Haven, 1955), p. 202; John and J. A. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses, Part I (Cambridge, 1922–27), II, 185. By coincidence, Fuller was first cousin of Ambrose Isted, owner of the manor and the “Franklin House” in Ecton.

5Richard Jackson had estates in Norfolk. BF accompanied Jackson and WF on this tour “thro’ Suffolk into Norfolk,” as he called it to DF, June 27, 1760. The party probably left London during the first week of October and returned before the end of the month.

6William Hunter, BF’s associate in the colonial post office; see above, V, 18 n.

7News of Frederick the Great’s victory at Zorndorf, Aug. 25, 1758, appeared in London Chron., Sept. 2, 1758. The celebration was noisy enough to frighten a Miss Seare, causing a versifier to write in London Chron., Dec. 12–14, 1758:

Tho’ Fred’rick’s name, to every friend

Of Liberty, be dear;

No more such victories let him send,

If they give pain to Seare.

8The seat of the illustrious Sidney family, five miles from Tunbridge, at this time owned by William Perry. “Excursions to the noblemans and gentlemans seats … furnish another pleasurable employment of time at Tunbridge Wells. … Through the polite hospitality of the worthy proprietors, [they] are always open to the inspection of the curious.” Burr, Tunbridge-Wells, pp. 169–97, 124–5.

9William Hunter’s sister Mary (Polly).

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