Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Mary Stevenson, 9 January 1765

To Mary Stevenson

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Craven street Jan. 9. 65

Your good Mama and myself are both of Opinion that the Christmas Gambols at Bromley last a great deal too long. We expected you three Days ago.4

Give my Compliments to Dr. Hawksworth, and tell him I have read three or four times, and every time with great Pleasure, his Dialogue in the Magazine between Mr. Sellaway and Friends in the Club.5 I call the Dialogue his, being sure that nobody else could write it: “Because why?6 The Thing speaks itself.”

I cannot conceive that any Inconvenience can arise from my loving young Ladies and their believing that I love them. Therefore you may assure your Friend Dolly that she judges right. I love all good Girls because they are good, and her for one Reason more, because you love her. I am, my dear Friend Yours affectionately

B Franklin

Endorsed: Jan 9–65

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Polly had been visiting Dr. and Mrs. John Hawkesworth and Catherine and Dorothea (“Dolly”) Blunt at the Hawkesworths’ house at Bromley, Kent, since the middle of December. See above, XI, 521.

5A skit published in the December 1764 issue of Gent. Mag., XXXIV (1764), 559–62, entitled “The Folly of useless Words exposed.” The scene is a “clubroom in a tavern” and the characters are a Mr. Entry, a land waiter; Mr. Bill, an attorney; Mr. Selaway, a shopkeeper; Mr. Plot, a seedman; and “several silent hearers and smoakers.”

6The author of the skit had attacked “because why” as one of a hundred cant phrases “which folly coined, and custom has made current.” Ibid., p. 560.

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