Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Mary Stevenson, 14 March 1764

To Mary Stevenson

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Philada. Mar. 14. 1764

Dear Polly

I have received your kind Letters of Augt. 30.3 and Nov. 16.4 Please to return my Thanks with those of my Friend, to Mr. Stanley for his Favour in the Musick, which gives great Satisfaction.5 I am glad to hear of the Welfare of the Blunt Family, and the Additions it has lately received; and particularly that your Dolly’s Health is mended. Present my best Respects to them, and to the good Dr. and Mrs. Hawkesworth6 when you see them. I believe you were right in dissuading your good Mother from coming hither. The Proposal was a hasty Thought of mine, in which I consider’d only some Profit she might make by the Adventure, and the Pleasure to me and my Family from the Visit; but forgot poor Polly, and what her Feelings must be on the Occasion; and perhaps did not sufficiently reflect, that the Inconveniencies of such a Voyage to a Person of her Years and Sex, must be more than the Advantages could compensate.

I am sincerely concern’d to hear of Mrs. Rooke’s7 long continu’d Affliction with that cruel Gout. My best Wishes attend her, and good Mrs. Tickell. Let me hear from you as often as you can afford it: You can scarce conceive the Pleasure your Letters give me. Blessings on his Soul that first invented Writing, without which I should, at this Distance, be as effectually cut off from my Friends in England, as the Dead are from the Living. But I write so little, that I can have no Claim to much from you as Business, public and private, devours all my Time. I must return to England for Repose. With such Thoughts I flatter my-self, and need some kind Friend to put me often in mind that old Trees cannot safely be transplanted. Adieu, my amiable Friend, and believe me ever Yours most affectionately

B Franklin

Miss Stevenson

Endorsed: Phil Mar 14 64

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3See above, X, 333–5. Many of the people—the Blunts, Polly’s mother, Polly’s aunts Mrs. Rooke and Mrs. Tickell—and the affairs mentioned in the present letter are discussed more fully there.

4Not found.

5John Stanley, the blind British composer, had provided a score for a poem written by Francis Hopkinson, the friend BF refers to here. See above, X, 333 n.

6For the Hawkesworths, proprietors of a school for young ladies at Bromley, Kent, see above, IX, 265–6 n.

7Polly’s aunt, with whom and another aunt, Mrs. Tickell, Polly lived, first at Wanstead and now at Kensington.

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