To Deborah Franklin
ALS: American Philosophical Society
St. Helen’s Road, Isle of Wight,
Dec. 9. 1764 5 P.M.
[My dear]7 Debby
This Line is just to let you know that we have this moment come to an Anchor here, and that I am going ashore at Portsmouth, and hope to be in London on Tuesday Morning.8 No Father could be tenderer to a Child, than Capt. Robinson9 has been to me, for which I am greatly oblig’d to Messrs. James and Drinker’s but we have had terrible Weather, and I have often been thankful that our dear Sally was not with me.1 Tell our Friends that din’d with us on the Turtle that the kind Prayer they then put up for thirty Days fair Wind for me, was favourably heard and answered, we being just 30 Days from Land to Land. I am, Thanks to God, very well and hearty. John2 has behav’d well to me, and so has every body on board. Thank all my Friends for their Favours which contributed so much to the Comfort of my Voyage.3 I have not time to name Names: You know whom I love and honour. Say all the proper Things for me to every body. Love to our Children and to my dear Brother and Sister.4 I am, dear Debby, Your ever loving Husband
I write this in hopes of reaching the Packet.5
Addressed: To / Mrs. Franklin / Philadelphia / via New York / per Packet
7. The upper corner of the sheet is torn off.
8. London Chron., Dec. 11–13, 1764, reported that “On Monday evening last [the 10th] the ingenious and much-esteemed Dr. Benjamin Franklin, arrived here from Philadelphia, in consequence of an appointment from the General Assembly there, to assist in transacting the affairs of that province for the ensuing year.” BF’s transatlantic voyage had been unusually fast, and his journey to London similarly exceeded his expected rate of travel.
9. Capt. James Robinson of the ship King of Prussia, belonging to the Philadelphia firm of James and Drinker, on which see above, pp. 435–6 n.
1. Apparently there had been some thought that the Franklins’ daughter Sarah might accompany him to England. During the period before BF’s arrival in England the London Chronicle had been reporting high winds in the eastern Atlantic and at the Channel ports.
2. BF’s servant.
3. One of these was Thomas Wharton’s woolen gown. BF returned it later in the winter with his “grateful Acknowledgements” and reported to DF that it had been “so comfortable a Companion in my Winter Passage.” To DF, Feb. 14, 1765, APS.
4. Sally and William and his wife, Elizabeth; BF’s brother Peter, now postmaster of Philadelphia, and his wife Mary.
5. DF reported the arrival of this letter, and two later ones, only on April 12, 1765, they having come “by the packit which was given up for loste.”