Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Keziah Coffin, 29 August 1765

To Keziah Coffin7

ALS not found; reprinted from The Nantucket Inquirer, January 26, 1824; transcript: Harvard College Library (Sparks)8

London, Aug. 29, 1765.

Loving Cousin,

I had the Pleasure of hearing yesterday, on Enquiry of our Cousin Folger,9 that you and your Husband and Daughter1 were well, when he was last on the Island. I recollect that when I sent you the Sliding Plate, I received a Dollar more than it came to, which I thought to have settled when I should send you the cast Plates; but as that perhaps was omitted after I came away, and I know not whether the Plates were even made or not; I send you here with a Pair of very nice Snuffers in some sort to ballance that Account; they cost 6s. Sterling, which is a little more than the Dollar.

Seeing some very neat Candlesticks where I bought the Snuffers, with a pretty Contrivance to push up from the Bottom, I bought some for my wife, and a Pair I send you,2 which I pray you to accept as a Token of Regard from Your affectionate Kinsman

B. Franklin

Remember me kindly to your Husband and Daughter, Tho’ I am unknown to them.

[In the margin:] The Things are in a little Box directed to you.

Superscribed: To Mrs. Keziah Coffin, Nantucket. Per fav’r of Mr. Folger, with a Box.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7On Keziah Folger Coffin (B., one of BF’s Nantucket cousins, see above, X, 379 n.

8The letter was printed in the Inquirer with an introductory note declaring that it was “copied verbatim et literatim—and as nearly like the original, as it is in the power of our type to imitate chirography.” The transcript is part of a collection of papers sent to Jared Sparks, July 30, 1838, by William C. Folger of Nantucket. These papers contain information on the Folger family on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, genealogical data, and other materials that Folger thought might be helpful to Sparks in his work on BF. Folger told Sparks that he had seen the original of the letter to Keziah Coffin and was certain that it was in BF’s hand, although “very much worn, having been so frequently handled and examined.”

9See the letter immediately below.

1Keziah Folger had married John Coffin at Nantucket, in 1740; their only child, also named Keziah, married Phineas Fanning of Long Island in 1771. Walter F. Brooks, History of the Fanning Family (Worcester, Mass., 1905), I, 242–3.

2At this point the Inquirer provided a footnote reading: “These ‘neat candlesticks’ which are of brass, and very tall, are now on the island, in the possession of one of Mrs. Coffin’s descendants.”

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