Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Deborah Franklin, 14 February 1765 (II)

To Deborah Franklin (II)

ALS: American Philosophical Society

London, Feb. 14. 1765.

My dear Child

By Capt. Robinson7 you will receive a Case Mrs. Stevenson has sent you, with the Blankets, Bed ticks, &c. you wrote for. No new China was to be had that would match the Cup and Saucer; but a Friend who has a Set at the same time with me, spar’d me the Remains of his, which are now sent. In the Case I return Mr. Thomas Wharton’s Woollen Gown, which he was so kind to lend me, and which was so comfortable a Companion in my Winter Passage. Please to deliver it to him with my grateful Acknowledgements. The blue Mohair Stuff is for the Curtains of the Blue Chamber. The Fashion is to make one Curtain only for each Window. Hooks are sent to fix the Rails by at Top, so that they may be taken down on Occasion. I almost Wish I had left Directions not to paint the House till my Return. But I suppose tis done before this time.

I am glad their Pamphlets give you so little Concern. I make no other Answer to them at present than what appears in the Seal of this Letter.8

In yours of Decr. 12.9 which was Wednesday, you say, “I set you down for being in London on Sunday last.” You were very near right. I landed that Day1 at Portsmouth. So that if you had said England instead of London it would have been exact. A few Hours, however brought me here.

I have seen Mrs. West.2 She is very well, and desires to be remembred to you and Sally. Mrs. Empson3 is gone to Ireland. Major Small4 sends his Compliments. Mrs. Stevenson, who is but poorly, and Polly, send theirs, as do Mr. and Mrs. Strahan. Miss Betsy Graeme5 lodges not far from me, and is pretty well.

Remember me affectionately to all our good Friends who contributed by their Kindness to make my Voyage comfortable. To Mr. Roberts, Mrs. Thompson, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Potts, Mrs. Shewell, Messrs. Whartons, Capt. Falkner, Brothers and Sisters Reads and Franklins, Cousin Davenport, and every body.6

Let no one make you uneasy with their idle or malicious Stories or Scribblings, but enjoy yourself and Friends, and the Comforts of Life that God has bestow’d on you, with a chearful Heart. Let Sally divert you with her Music. Put her on Practising on the Armonica. Mr. Brenmer7 with his Violin may assist and improve her there as well as on the Harpsichord. A few Months, I hope, will finish Affairs here to my Wish, and bring me to that Retirement and Repose with my little Family, so suitable to my Years, and which I have so long set my Heart upon. I am, my dear Debby, your ever affectionate Husband

B Franklin

Love to Sally and our other Children. I have seen Amelia Evans.8 She complains that Sally does not write to her.

I have wrote to Messrs Thomas and Samuel Wharton per Capt. McPharson,9 under Care of Mr. Meredith.

Addressed: To / Mrs Franklin / Philadelphia

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Pa. Gaz., June 6, 1765, reported the entry at Philadelphia of the Prince George, Capt. James Robinson.

8See above, p. 44, for a comment by DF on the “Scurrilitey” of the pamphlets being published in Philadelphia. The seal of the letter has not been found, but it presumably carried an impression of the Franklin arms, apparently with the motto, exemplum adest ipse homo (the example presents the man himself). For a discussion of the Franklin family arms, see above, II, 229–30 n.

9Not found.

1December 9; see above, XI, 516–17.

2Mrs. Benjamin West; see above, p. 43.

3Elizabeth Soumaine Empson, daughter of BF’s neighbor Samuel Soumaine; see above, XI, 190 n.

4Major John Small, just back from America where he served with Bouquet against the western Indians; see above, p. 42 n.

5For Elizabeth Graeme, whom William Franklin had courted ardently before accompanying his father to England in 1757, see above, VII, 177 n. In the summer of 1764 she traveled to England for her health (supposedly damaged by her unfortunate love affair with William) where she had considerable social and literary success and was presented to the King. Carl and Jessica Bridenbaugh, Rebels and Gentlemen Philadelphia in the Age of Franklin (New York, 1942), pp. 111–12.

6Of the foregoing people, BF’s close political associates Hugh Roberts and the Whartons, Thomas and Samuel, are familiar. “Mrs. Thompson” was probably Ruth Mather Thomson, the wife of BF’s neighbor Charles Thomson, see above, p. 45. Mrs. Smith was probably Mrs. Mary “Goody” Smith, a great friend of DF’s, see above, VII, 17 n, 369, 382. Mrs. Potts may have been Ruth Savage Potts, wife of the ironmaster, John Potts, see above, XI, 484 n. Mrs. Shewell was perhaps Mrs. Robert Shewell, mother-in-law of Benjamin West, see above, p. 43 n. For Captain Nathaniel Falconer, see below, p. 100 n. Brother and sister Read were DF’s brother John Read (E.1.2.5) and his wife Martha; brother and sister Franklin were BF’s brother Peter (C.9) and his wife Mary. Josiah Franklin Davenport (C.12.4), a nephew, not a cousin, of BF, had been keeping a store at Pittsburgh in 1764.

7James Bremner (d. 1780), brother of the Scottish music publisher Robert Bremner (see DNB), settled in Philadelphia as a music teacher in 1763. Francis Hopkinson, whom he may have taught, wrote a poem in his honor after he died. See Carl and Jessica Bridenbaugh, Rebels and Gentlemen (N.Y., [1942]), pp. 151–3, and G. E. Hastings, The Life and Works of Francis Hopkinson (Chicago, 1926), pp. 126, 132 n, 174–5, 276, 308.

8Amelia Evans (b. 1744) was a daughter of the cartographer Lewis Evans (above, III, 48 n) and DF’s goddaughter. She had gone to England sometime after the death of her uncle in 1759; in 1766 she applied to BF for assistance. She went to Tunis with the family of British consul James Traill and while there married David Barry, a captain in the Levant trade, by whom she had five children. L. H. Gipson, Lewis Evans (Phila., 1939), pp. 79–80; PMHB, XIX (1895), 520.

9The letters to the Whartons have not been found, but on April 27 Thomas Wharton acknowledged BF’s letter of February 13; below, p. 113. Pa. Gaz., May 2, 1765, reported the entry of the Britannia, Capt. J. McPherson. Mr. Meredith may have been Samuel Meredith (1741–1817), son of Reese Meredith (above, II, 376 n). A letter from the younger man, dated London, Sept. 21, 1764, commenting on political matters and “the Absurdity of some of the Acts Passed last Session with regard to America,” places him in England in the fall of 1764 and suggests that BF took advantage of his return to send this letter to DF in his care. PMHB, XVII (1893), 211.

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