Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Jonathan Williams, 25 November 1762

To Jonathan Williams2

ALS: Mrs. George S. Maywood, Garden City, N.Y. (1955)

Philada. Nov. 25. 1762.

Loving Cousin

I thank you for your kind Congratulations on my Arrival and the Promotion of my Son.3 I am in hopes I shall be able to see Boston the next Spring, and to have the Pleasure of finding you and my other Friends well.4 I congratulate you on your having such a Number of Sons.5 You remember the Blessing on him that has his Quiver full of them. My Love to your good Wife, and to the Children: Let me know how the eldest does, who had the Misfortune of losing his Sight.6 I was acquainted with Mr. Stanley in London, who is an excellent Musician, and what is stranger, plays at Cards extreamly well and readily. I should be glad to know what you have done in my Affairs relating to Sister Douse:7 and am, Your affectionate Uncle

B Franklin

P.S. I thank you for your kind Invitation to your House, but doubt I should incommode you too much.8

Addressed: To / Mr Jonathan Williams / Mercht / Boston / Free / B Franklin

Endorsed: Novr 25 1762 B Franklin. Novr 25 1762

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Jonathan Williams (1719–1796), Boston merchant, was the husband of Grace Harris (C.5.3), daughter of BF’s half sister Ann. BF seems to have relied on him to look after several of his Boston relatives; see above, VII, 191.

3Williams’ letter not found.

4BF visited Boston in the summer of 1763 on post-office business, arriving there on July 20 and leaving October 12. He was accompanied by his colleague John Foxcroft and by his daughter Sally. Boston Evening-Post, July 25, 1763; BF to James Bowdoin, Oct. 11, 1763, Mass. Hist. Soc.

5Jonathan and Grace Williams had seven sons, of whom three lived to adulthood. See above, I, lvii-lviii.

6Josiah Williams (C.5.3.1) went to London in 1770 to study with BF’s friend, the blind musician John Stanley (above, IX, 320 n). Josiah died soon after returning to Boston in 1772.

7BF’s eldest half sister, Elizabeth Douse (C.1), died at Boston, Aug. 25, 1759. Since her estate owed BF £251 17s. 111/5d., her house on Unity Street, valued at £150, eventually came to BF in part payment. But because she had died intestate leaving no children, some time probably elapsed before title was formally transferred to BF. Williams may have been looking after BF’s interests in the matter. Van Doren, Franklin-Mecom, pp. 78–9.

8During BF’s visit to Boston he lodged his daughter Sally at Williams’ house so she could practice the harpsichord. See below, p. 292.

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