Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Deborah Franklin, 6 August 1759

To Deborah Franklin

ALS: American Philosophical Society

London, Augt. 6. 1759

My dear Child

I wrote to you already by this Ship,2 but have since receiv’d yours and Sally’s of June 18. and 21.3 which gave me great Pleasure, as your Letters always do; and the greater as it was long that I had not heard from you. I have wrote you several long Letters this Year,4 and suppose they got to hand at last, tho’ it seems by yours they have been long by the Way: Ships often stay long for Convoy. I think some Letters I wrote in November did not leave England till February; the Pacquets are some times ordered away suddenly and unexpectedly; some Ships sail without my knowing it, (as I suppose the last from N York did without your knowing it, for I had no line from anybody by her;) and when several sail together it seems needless and endless for me to write or send Copies in all; so you must learn not to expect Letters from me every Month, nor by every Ship; and make your self easy if a Ship or Pacquet arrives without a Letter for you; considering it only as a Sign that you are to have a very long one in the next.

You tell me that Smith’s Vessel is arriv’d, but the Captain says there is no Box on board.5 I suppose that to be only a Mistake, as he might not find them in the List of Bills Lading he had sign’d; the Case being this, the Ship was under Sail when Mr. Neat’s People put those Boxes on board, and no Bill of Lading was taken; but they were certainly shipt, and I hope they were found soon after you wrote. My former Letters will tell you what there was.

Inclos’d is a Bill of Lading for the 2 Boxes sent per this Ship; one of which is for Mr. Gambier at Providence,6 and to be delivered by you to Messrs. Conyngham & Nesbit.7 In another Letter8 I have given you an Account of the Things contain’d in the other.

Being just setting out on my Journey,9 I can only add, that I am, my dear Child, Your ever loving Husband

B Franklin

P.S. Here is a Person who represents herself to be Wife of Mr. Henry Flower, Watchmaker of Philadelphia.1 She tells me a very lame Story of her Husband’s sending her over before him with two small Children, to prepare a Place for him, he intending to come here to settle. I cannot understand it; but as the Woman is in Distress, and ready to starve with her Children for want of Necessaries, I have out of Regard to my Townsman, furnish’d her with a little Money. Pray mention it privately to him, and enquire into the Matter, that I may know whether I ought to advance any more on his Account.2

When you get Mr. Dunlap3 to direct your Letters, desire him not to put the Title Honourable before my Name; but direct plainly and simply to B. Franklin, Esqr. in Craven Street, London.

Mrs. Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2This letter has not been found.

3Not found.

4Only those of April 7–11, and of April 12, 1759, have been found.

5See above, pp. 306–7, for the contents of the boxes sent by the Cornelia.

6Probably John Gambier (above, VII, 325 n) of New Providence Island, where Nassau is situated in the Bahamas, or his brother Samuel, a lawyer and member of the council there.

7A Philadelphia mercantile firm, founded in 1756, by Redmond Conyngham (d. 1785) and John Maxwell Nesbitt (c. 1730–1802).

8Not found.

9To the north of England and to Scotland.

1Henry Flower had a shop in Philadelphia at Second Street near Chestnut. It is not certain whether he is the Henry Flower, an American who published a pamphlet in London in 1766 entitled Observations on Gout and Rheumatism. Brooks Palmer, The Book of American Clocks (N.Y., 1959), p. 193; J. Bennett Nolan, Benjamin Franklin in Scotland and England (Phila., 1938), p. 212.

2On Aug. 8, 1759, BF recorded the loan of £3 13s. 6d. to Mrs. Flower. “Account of Expences,” p. 45; PMHB, LV (1931), 125. Henry Flower eventually wrote BF and told him that Mrs. Flower was an impostor and should be cut off. But BF concluded that he was lying and was, on that account, “a very bad man.” BF to DF, March 28?, 1760, APS.

3William Dunlap (above, VII, 168), DF’s nephew by marriage and at this time postmaster of Philadelphia.

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