To Mary Stevenson
ALS: American Philosophical Society
Cravenstreet July 7. 1761
This is just to acquaint my dear Polly, that her good Mama, Mr. and Mrs. Strahan, and her Friend Franklin, purpose to be at Bromley on Tuesday Morning next, to have the Pleasure of seeing Dr. and Mrs. Hawkesworth and the agreable Miss Blunt’s, dining there and returning in the Evening.1 They carry down with them Miss Peggy Strahan,2 and leave her there instead of Miss Stevenson who is to come to Town with them. This is the Scheme; but all this in case it will be agreable to our Friends at Bromley, of which you are to let us know. Mr. Strahan is here with us, and we all join in drinking your Health with that of our Bromley Friends. ’Tis 11 a Clock at Night, and the Post rings his Bell, which obliges me to conclude, dear good Girl, Your affectionate Friend
Mama says God bless you. Peter3 could find me no better Paper.
Endorsed: July 7—61
1. For Dr. John Hawkesworth, a successful writer and editor who helped his wife run a school at Bromley, Kent, see above, p. 265 n. The “agreable Miss Blunt’s,” Catherine (1727–1775) and Dorothea (1733–1809), close friends and cousins of Polly, were granddaughters of Sir John Blunt (1665–1733), the able, though unscrupulous, financier who directed the spectacular operations of the South Sea Company in 1719–20 and lost a fortune when the Bubble collapsed. With Dorothea (Dolly) Blunt BF formed one of those playful, affectionate relationships which he enjoyed so much and for which he had so great a capacity. When Polly Stevenson married William Hewson in 1770 he and Dolly “agreed to love each other better than we ever did, to make up as much as we can our suppos’d Loss,” but although they corresponded frequently and saw each other at intervals, Dolly never enjoyed the abiding love and concern with which BF favored Polly. Whitfield J. Bell, Jr., “All Clear Sunshine,” APS Proc., c (1956), 528, 529; John Carswell, The South Sea Bubble (Stanford, 1960). BF and his party arrived at Bromley on Wednesday, July 15, 1761. William Strahan to David Hall, July 15, 1761, APS.
2. Strahan’s younger daughter Margaret, whom BF affectionately referred to as “little Peggy” or “my little Wife,” apparently because she had “made choise” of him for a husband when she should grow up. Strahan to BF, May 27, 1782.
3. BF’s Negro servant; see above, VI, 425 n.