Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Deborah Franklin, 12 April 1759

To Deborah Franklin

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Pennsylvania Coffee house
London April 12. 1759

My dear Child,

Calling here just now, I find a Bag not taken away, and as my Letters are gone or going, part by the Ships now at Portsmouth4 and part per Packet to be dispatch’d on Saturday, I write this Line to let you know we are well, and that you may not be uneasy at not having one Letter by this Ship.

Now I think on’t; there was a Trunk sent last year by the Speedwell; it was shipt by Mr. Collinson and included in the same Bill of Lading with one for the Library Company; it was mark’d J.F No. 1, and should have gone to New York, being for Jemmy Franklin.5 I cannot hear that he or you have receiv’d it; and suppose it lies in the Store of Mr. Neave’s6 Correspondent at Philadelphia waiting for somebody to claim it. Pray enquire about it; you can get the Bill of Lading of Mr. Morris, the Secretary to the Library Company;7 and when you receive the Trunk, forward it to Jemmy. The Freight was paid here.

Tell Mr. Thomson that I have just heard the Proprietor is writing an Answer to his Book, and will pay off him and the Quakers.8

My Love to all Pensylvania. I am as ever Dear Debby, Your affectionate Husband

B Franklin

P.S. I have sent you 2 Boxes, and a Leaden Case containing a Cheese: they are ship’d on board the Cornelia, Capt. Smith, by Mr. Neate; but no Bill of Lading was taken.9 Enquire for them when the Ship arrives: They are mark’d BF No. 1, 2, 3. The Boxes contain Books and a Thermometer for Mr. Norris, Do. for Mr. James Wright; Barometer and Thermometer for Mr. Hughes. Books for Mr. Galloway. Cloaths for you and Sally; and sundry small Articles, of which you will have a particular Account per Pacquet.

Mr. Hunter is gone home to Virginia perfectly well!1 God be thanked.

Addressed: [Torn] / Mrs Franklin / at the Post Office / Philada.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4On April 28 the warships Norwich, Echo, and Lyon sailed from Portsmouth convoying “the trade for North America.” London Chron., April 28–May 1, 1759. To judge by the published “Ship News,” this convoy had been assembling for a considerable period.

5BF recorded under date of May 19, 1758, “a Trunk of Books” sent to his nephew James Franklin (C.11.4) of Newport, valued in “Boston Lawful Money” at £48 19s. 9d. (£36 14s. 3d., sterling), which James was to sell at that price, retaining 20 percent as commission. At about the same time BF recorded sending DF in a trunk for the Library Co. a ream of writing paper, 200 large quills, and two lbs. superfine wax, to a total value of £1 9s., sterling. “Account of Expences,” pp. 32, 17; PMHB, LV (1931), 111. He told DF, June 10, 1758, that these articles were a gift to Mrs. Samuel Preston Moore; see above, p. 91.

6Richard Neave, London merchant; see above, IV, 115 n.

7Library Co. minutes show no one in Philadelphia holding office as secretary at this time. Joseph Morris (1715–1785) was treasurer, however, and reported, July 9, 1759, that he soon expected a shipment of books from Collinson.

8Thomas Penn’s copy of Charles Thomson’s Enquiry (above, p. 199), with marginal notes in his hand, is in John Carter Brown Lib. “But as far as is known his intentions never got beyond the stage of exasperated annotation.” Lawrence C. Wroth, An American Bookshelf 1755 (Phila., 1934), pp. 18, 19.

9See above, pp. 306–7. BF paid William Neate, London merchant (above, IV, 115 n), £3 2s. 5d. for the shipping charges. “Account of Expences,” p. 38. Eddy omitted this entry from PMHB, LV (1931), 97–133.

1William Hunter, BF’s colleague as joint deputy postmaster general, arrived in Virginia on July 5, after a voyage of ten weeks. Hunter to DF, July 22, 1759, APS.

Index Entries