Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Deborah Franklin, 11 May 1765

To Deborah Franklin

ALS: American Philosophical Society

London, May 11. 1765

My dear Child,

The March Packet is not yet arriv’d. The Last I have receiv’d from you was of Feb. 26. via Ireland.2 All the Letters from my other Friends I answer’d per last Packet.3

I have generally had my Health pretty well lately, except a Fit of the Gout, which confin’d me about a Fortnight, and my Foot is still tender. I am advis’d to spend a Week or two at Bath, which I may do if I can find Time as soon as the Parliament rises.4

Please to acquaint Mr. Hall that I receiv’d his Bill of £150. tho’ I believe I wrote him so via Maryland.5

Capt. Friend will sail soon, by whom I shall write more fully.6

I hope by this time you are nearly settled in your new House; tho’, when I consider the Slowness of Workmen, I rather question whether you will be so before I return.

Mrs. Stevenson and our Polly, present their Compliments. My Love to Sally and all Friends. Your affectionate Husband

B Franklin

June 8. The above was intended to go by the May Packet; but none being arrived from America, none was then dispatch’d here.7

Capt. Williams arrived safe, and call’d once to see me. I had the Satisfaction of hearing by him that you were well, but he brought no Letter. That which you intended by him did not reach him at N York, but came since per the April Packet.8

It was indeed a long time before you heard of my Arrival here, tho’ you see by my Letters that I wrote as soon as I landed; but it seems too late for the December Packet.9

I was at Mr. Strahan’s when your Letter came to hand, and immediately executed your Commission by kissing Rachel’s Child for you. It is a fine Girl.1

I rejoice to hear that my good old Friend Mr. Wharton has got another Son.2 When you see him present my Love and best Wishes for him and his.

I have also receiv’d yours of March 15. and April 7. and 12.3 I wonder how so many Letters mentioning my Arrival came to hand without any from me, as I thought I miss’d no Opportunity.

I am glad, that tho’ the new House was not finish’d, you had a Room ready for our Friend Foxcroft.

I think you have done very well to buy the Lot you mention, tho’ you have indeed given a great Price for it;4 but, as you observe, it is more convenient for us than for any other, and I think we may make considerable Advantage of it in time, by opening a Passage by the North Front of our House into the back Ground, which, if I mistake not, joins upon our Neighbour Keppele.5

Capt. Friend is not yet gone, but sails shortly, and by him I shall write farther. My Love to Sally, and all enquiring Friends. I am at present in good Health and Spirits, and hope every thing relating to my Errand here will end to Satisfaction. I am, my dear Child, Your ever loving Husband

B Franklin

Addressed: To / Mrs Franklin / Philadelphia / per favour of / Mr Mitchel6

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Not found.

3BF might conceivably be referring to the letters which he wrote his friends in Pennsylvania on Feb. 14, 1765 (see above, pp. 61–9), but it seems more likely that he means letters written by the March or April packet. In a letter of May 30, 1765, Baynton, Wharton & Morgan acknowledge the receipt of a letter of March 9 (not found) and in letters of May 27 and June 20, 1765, Samuel Wharton and David Hall acknowledge receiving letters of April 13 (neither has been found); see below, pp. 141, 150, 188. In each instance BF may also have written other friends.

4It cannot be established whether BF went to Bath in the summer of 1765.

5The receipt of this bill of exchange for Rotch & Co. on Buxton Syms & Enderly, is recorded, April 19, 1765, in Journal, 1764–1776, p. 3, and Ledger, 1764–1776, pp. 2, 15. The letter of acknowledgment has not been found.

6Friend did not sail until shortly after July 7, 1765; he arrived in Philadelphia on Sept. 11, 1765. Pa. Gaz., Sept. 12, 1765.

7DF received this letter by the first week of August, despite the irregularity of the packet service. See below, p. 224.

8Captain Williams was apparently the same person who visited DF in April; see above, p. 102. He may have been related in some way to BF’s Williams relatives in Boston. DF’s letter, intended by him, may have been that of April 7, 1765 (above, pp. 101–4), or one of March 15, 1765 (not found).

9In her letter of April 7, 1765, DF acknowledged receiving BF’s letter of Dec. 9, 1764 (she mistakenly wrote December 10), written the same day he arrived in England. See above, XI, 516–17.

1Rachel Strahan Johnston’s daughter was just over two and one-half years old. See above, X, 237 n.

2For Joseph Wharton, see above, XI, 451 n. By two wives Wharton had no less than fifteen sons and three daughters. The next to youngest child, Hudson, was born Feb. 21, 1765, and died in 1771. PMHB, I (1877), 326–7.

3The letter of March 15 not found; for that of April 7 and 12, see above, pp. 101–4.

4See below, pp. 283–6, for the large lot, contiguous to the property on which BF was building his house, which DF purchased from Anthony Syddon for £900.

5BF was mistaken, as DF explained in a letter of Sept. 22, 1765 (below, p. 272); there were 33 feet between the Franklins’ new property and Keppele’s.

6Not identified.

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