Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Deborah Franklin, 9 February 1765

To Deborah Franklin

ALS: American Philosophical Society

London, Feb. 9. 1765

My dear Child,

I have been so hurried of late, that I could not write much by this Packet.3 One Letter to the Speaker,4 and one to you, is all I shall be able to make out. Thanks to God, I am got perfectly well, my Cough quite gone. My Arms, too, continue mending, so that I can now put on and off my Cloaths, but do not practice it yet, as it still hurts me a little. John5 continues with me, behaves very well, and talks of returning with me.

Mrs. Stevenson has bought the Things you wrote for, and they will go in Capt. Robinson.6 She presents her Compliments, and wishes you would come over and bring Sally. I purpose sending in the Chest some Books for Cousin Colbert,7 if the Bookseller sends them in time enough.

I hope to be able to return about the End of Summer. I will look out for a Watch for Sally, as you desire, to bring with me. The Reason I did not think of it before, was your suffering her to wear yours, which you seldom use your self.

Major Small8 arriv’d here about 3 Weeks since, very well, and gave me the Pleasure of hearing that he left you and Sally and our other Children well also. The News of Col. Bouquet’s Success gave great Satsifaction here, but to none more than myself, upon his Account as well as the Country’s.

I don’t know whether I mentioned in any former Letter that I could wish you to send me what Letters come to your hands directed for me in my Absence. I particularly want those that went from the Post Office here.

I am oblig’d to our Landlord9 for his Civility, and shall always remember it. I hope by this Time your Trouble of Moving is over, and that you are compleatly settled.

I went to see Mrs. West.1 She was then unwell, and I did not see her; and have since been too busy; but shall wait on them again very soon.

My Love to all. I am, my dear Debby, Your affectionate Husband

B Franklin

Addressed: To / Mrs Franklin / at the Post Office / Philadelphia / via New York / per Packet / Free B Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Probably the Lord Hyde packet, Captain Goddard, which sailed from Falmouth, Feb. 18, 1765, and whose arrival at New York was reported in Pa. Gaz., April 18, 1765. For the ship’s departure, see London Chron., Feb. 21–23, 1765.

4On May 15, 1765, Speaker Joseph Fox laid before the Pa. Assembly a letter from BF of this date which has not been found. 8 Pa. Arch., VII, 1747.

5The servant who accompanied BF to England; see above, p. 16.

6See below, p. 62.

7A curious slip for “Cuthbert.” Thomas Cuthbert (1713–1781) married in 1744 Ann Wilkinson, daughter of DF’s cousins, Anthony and Elizabeth Wilkinson (E.2.3; below, p. 62). Cuthbert’s occupation is not known. 2 Pa. Arch., VIII, 72. See also Edward L. Clark, ed., A Record of the Inscriptions … of Christ Church Philadelphia (Phila., 1864), p. 230.

8Major John Small (1726–1796) of the 42d Royal Highlanders was a brother of BF’s good friend Alexander Small (IX, 110–11 n). He served as an acting major on Bouquet’s expedition against the western Indians, was sent with Bouquet’s dispatches to General Gage, and then by Gage to England with the news of the successful issue of the campaign. Small served in America throughout the Revolution and in John Trumbull’s painting of the battle of Bunker Hill is represented as trying to save the life of Dr. Joseph Warren. DNB; Clarence E. Carter, ed., The Correspondence of General Thomas Gage (New Haven, 1931–33), 1, 47; 11, 430, 431, 432, 446, 593, 610, 630, 667.

9Adam Eckert, at whose house on the site of the present 326 Market Street DF was living before moving into the new Franklin house a little to the east. See Hannah Roach, “Benjamin Franklin Slept Here,” PMHB, LXXXIV (1960), 166–74. BF’s Receipt Book, 1742–64 (described above, II, 351–2), pp. 82–8, records payments of £20 quarterly rent from July 15, 1761, to Oct. 29, 1764. For the location of this house, see above, II, map facing p. 456, site no. 10.

1Mrs. Benjamin West, the former Elizabeth Shewell (b. 1741), daughter of the Philadelphia merchant, Robert Shewell, had married the painter in London on Sept. 2, 1764. DAB; PMHB, XI (1887), 62.

2None of these letters have been found.

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