Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Mary Stevenson, 30 July 1761

From Mary Stevenson

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Wanstead July 30th. 1761.

Dear Sir

I cannot return your Book8 without making some little Acknow[le]dgment of my Obligation. You did me great Honour by entrusting me with it, and I receiv’d a high Pleasure in the Perusal. Give me leave to say the Pleasure I receiv’d proceeded not wholly from the Merit of the Writings, but from my Esteem and Affection for the Author; yet I will so far compliment my Understanding to think I should have been instructed and convinc’d by the same Words deliver’d by another, tho’ I should not have been equally delighted. I told Dr. Hawkesworth, the other day, he was a dangerous Man: I thought you so, long ago. For you have such a Power of Perswasion you can make me think what you please. How happy is it a good Heart is join’d to that Power!

I cannot longer indulge myself in this pleasing Employment, for I have appointed to spend the day, with Mr. and Mrs. Lehook,9 at the Devil’s House, a Place by the Water side, where we hope to see the West-India Fleet pass,1 and we are to go soon. I therefore took some of your morning (not Dr. Hawkesworth’s) for a last look at the Book, and to assure you I am Dear Sir Your gratefully affectionate Servant

M Stevenson.

My Duty to my Mother.

Addressed: To / Dr. Franklin.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Evidently a rather loose use of the word, because in another place Polly writes of returning BF’s “Manuscript” (below, p. 354) and because in replying to this letter on Aug. 10, 1761 (below, pp. 338–9), BF acknowledged receiving his “Papers,” by which he almost certainly meant the scientific letters, written in 1752–54, which he sent Polly in April; see above, p. 308 n. The papers may, of course, have been bound up to protect them, giving them the appearance of a book. Polly left the papers with John Stanley (above, p. 320 n) from whom BF received them in a little more than a week.

9Probably Ronjat Lehook and his wife. London Chron., May 29–June 1, 1762, reported that Lehook, “an eminent merchant of this city,” died at Wanstead on May 29, 1762.

1A report from Deal, July 26, stated that ninety ships from the Leeward Islands had arrived under convoy and had sailed for the river, and a report of the next day recorded the arrival at Deal of “about thirty merchant ships from Jamaica.” Both in London Chron., July 25–28, 1761.

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