Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Deborah Franklin, 3 November 1765

From Deborah Franklin

ALS: American Philosophical Society

November the 3 1765

The dredfull firste of November is over;1 and not so much disorder as was dreded I am a shamed of maney of our sittisons but I think you air informed by better handes than I am. I am to one [own] I did not write by the laste packit all thow I did in quier when it wold saile the poste Came in after darke and wente in a quator of an ower so I Cold not write as I Cante by Candel lite. I reseved thee tee by Capt. Budin and thanke you for it.2 I had the pleshuer to treet your old friend John Robortes his Son the Doctor from mereyland thair wifes and Dafter your verey good friend Mrs. Howel and Dafter to the Number of 13.3 Thay all desiered to [be] remembered to you in the moste respecktefull manner and yisterday good Mr. Rhodes and his son Thomas Franklin4 and wife dranke tee with us and we had the beste Buckwheat Kakes that ever I maid. Thay sed I had ought dun [outdone] my one ought doings. Our good Mr. Mockridg5 had sente sume of the beste of the flower that I ever saw and we had them hot thay desired thair love to you. Now my dear give me leve to sheed sume teers with you on the Deth of our Coll. Boquet. He deyed 10 dayes after he arived att Penscey Colok.6 He was in a poor Staite of helthe when I saw him laste a bough 3 day before he wente a way. He dranke tee with us.

I have got the Dead don and recorded but not but on the 30 of ocktober7 for it lay in Mr. Reyleis hands all the time all moste he was ill and he now layes dead but it is dun.8 Mr. Brogdon9 treeted me with the graites Politenes imaginabel on the ocashon the day that mrs. Sidon acknowledge the Dead. Mr. Hughes gave Bond with me to the 4 hundred pounds he dus go a brode a littel now but is but verey poorley yit.1 This I write to have readey if a vesill should saile before a packit.

I saw a letter from Mr. Coldin laste evening whair in he ses thay had a mobe the night be for and thair was one thretened to be that night to pull dow[n] his offis that his wife and Children was gon to the forte in ordor to askape the insultes of the mobe but I hope it will blow over with ought aney damaig as the thretnings of the tooles has dun heare.2 So my Dear you see hough readey we air to follow the fashon of the Inglish Folkes.3 I have ofen thought what a mersey it was that it is only those hear that seme disatisfied which think and Cole them selefes the better Sorte and that we Can turne ought 6 or 7 hundred hones good traidesmen to Convinse them that thay air but meer beckers [beggars.]4 The head of our mobe is a bought 3 parsons 2 or 3 Dockters you Countrey man S Smith who I reeley pittey as I beleve he will kill him selef with his one [own] ill nater.5 Mr. Tillman6 has bin verey acktivef and got him selef harteley dispised for which I Cante helpe being plesed in som meshuer but I donte trubel my selef as I donte live in the Same Cittey so if I stay att home I may be as hapey as possabel while you air not hear to make me quite so I hope you air not to stay longer then the Spring. You say you hope I did not a peel. I did not. I donte due aney thing to give aney bodey room to say aney thing a bought me att all I have not so much as spook to your new tenent but intend it soon. I have lefte in Mr. Thounsend whites7 handes 60 pounds of the money of Godmothers Legesay8 as I wold not have any of the Congruygashon say aney thing [indecipherable 9] of you. When the offis dus what thay have to due I shall pay what remaines and get a discharge. I have reseved 5 poundes of the tenent in the house1 and he ses he will bring the reste verey soon. Adue god bles you. I leve of[f] tell tomorrow.

[November 7]

This is November the 7 and I was a writin you a letter when the poste Came in and I have reseved your of the 14 of September.2 I rejoys to hear that you was well. My beste regardes to Coll. Hunter3 and Ladey. Pray kiss miss for me I heard by chanse that the [packet] sailes on Satterday so I finish this letter to you as I wold not let another Packit saile with ought a letter from me to you. Mr. Rhodes Came in. I read him sum parte of your letter. He has not given me aney a Counte. He did ofer to retuern me the money but I sed I did not wante it nor did he aske me for aney. He sed that Smith the Carpenter had asked him for so much and his son lay sick att that time and Cold not doe aney buisnes so I ofred him. He Desiers his love to you. I am a looking ought for Stoveses. Mr. Robertes spooke to me for to a siste him in geting of them.4 This day I heard from our friends Grase and Potts thay air all well.5 Salley is a writing but it semes as thow all her friends wold Cume and see her to day. My love to good mrs. Stephenson. I have sed all to her in my letter which is to go by Ierland. My Compleymentes to Mr. and Mrs. Strahan and thair whole famely to all our friends and I am to tell you that numbers of your good friends desier their love to you allmoste all Philadelphia for it is but a verey few that donte like you. It is allmoste darke. I am obliged to Conclud and am your afeckshonat wife

D Franklin

This day makes a year sense you lefte home.

Endorsed: Mrs Franklin &c

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

1The day the Stamp Act was supposed to take effect.

2BF had written, August 23, that he had sent her “a small Box of Tea” by Budden. Pa. Gaz., Oct. 31, 1765, reported the arrival of the Philadelphia Packet, Capt. R. Budden.

3BF’s “old friend” John Roberts was probably the early member of Lib. Co. Phila., whose name appears several times in its early documents; see above, I, 361; II, 132, 346. His son, the doctor, was possibly Jonathan Roberts of Kent Island, whose death, July 20, 1797, at about 65 years of age, is recorded in Md. Hist. Mag., XXVIII (1933), 224. Among the several families by the name of Howell in the Philadelphia area, “your verey good friend Mrs. Howel and Dafter” have not been identified.

4Samuel Rhoads’s daughter Mary married Thomas Franklin of a N.Y. family (no connection with BF) on Feb. 15, 1764.

5William Maugridge (d. 1766), a carpenter and joiner, was an original member of the Junto. Autobiog. (APS-Yale), pp. 117, 290. In 1750 he had bought a farm in Bucks Co. from a relative by marriage, Squire Boone, father of Daniel Boone. In 1754 BF had helped him get a mortgage from the Philadelphia Contributionship, guaranteeing the interest, and in 1762 had himself accepted a second mortgage for £258 16s. J. Bennett Nolan, “Benjamin Franklin’s Mortgage on the Daniel Boone Farm,” APS Proc., LXXXVII (1943–44), 394–7.

6Pa. Gaz., Oct. 24, 1765, carried a report of Bouquet’s death. Recently promoted to brigadier general, he had arrived at Pensacola on August 23 and died September 2. He had gone there with the 31st Regiment to relieve troops returning to England; a devastating illness had struck the new men and the officers’ wives, “ten or twelve dying of a Day.”

7The deed from Anthony and Deborah Syddon, Sept. 26, 1765, to the land directly east of the Franklins’ previously owned property; above, pp. 283–6. The deed was actually entered in the records on October 31, not 30.

8John Reily, a leading Philadelphia scrivener and conveyancer, had been a witness to the deed of trust for the Loganian Library, Aug. 28, 1754; above, V, 426. Henry Burnet, a former apprentice of Reily’s, advertised in Pa. Gaz., Nov. 21, 1765, and some later issues, that during the illness of “ that eminent Conveyencer,” who was”lately deceased,” Burnet had transacted all of Reily’s business.

9Charles Brockden (1683–1769), born in London, had come to Philadelphia in 1706 and was appointed master of the rolls in 1715. He was also register of the Court of Chancery, 1720–39, and recorder of deeds, 1722–67. As a scrivener and conveyancer he had drawn up the articles of agreement for the founding of Lib. Co. Phila. PMHB, XII (1888), 185–9; Autobiog. (APS-Yale), pp. 130, 142.

1The purchase price of the Syddon lot was £900, for which the grantors gave their receipt at the closing. Probably DF had paid down £500 and had given bond for £400 with Hughes as cosigner. His serious illness during the hectic weeks of the earlier fall has been mentioned in several previous letters.

2The letter was probably from Alexander Colden, N.Y. postmaster, not his father, Cadwallader, the acting governor. The latter wrote several letters to Secretary of State Conway and the Board of Trade about the events of November 1. The stamped paper, which had arrived on October 23 without directions and “not so much as a Bill of Lading,” had been transferred to the fort for safekeeping on Colden’s orders. Because of threats to the family property Alexander sent all his household effects to the fort and placed his wife and children aboard H.M.S. Coventry (not in the fort as DF heard). On November 1 a mob collected and in the evening came up to the fort gate, bringing a scaffold with two effigies, one of Colden “in his grey hairs,” the other of “the Devil whispering in his Ear.” The garrison manned the “Ramparts,” prepared to resist attack, so the mob moved off a little distance, erected a gibbet, hanged the effigies, and then burned them, together with Colden’s chariot, a one-horse chair, and two “sledges” all taken from his coach house outside the fort. On the 5th the lieutenant governor turned over the stamped paper to the mayor and corporation at their request. Colden Letter Books, II (N.-Y. Hist. Soc. Coll., 1877), 47–9, 54–5, 60–2, 74–5, 79–81, 97–8.

3See above, p. 270 n.

4See above, p. 316.

5One of the doctors DF had in mind may have been Benjamin Rush. In a letter to Ebenezer Hazard, Nov. 5, 1765, he wrote: “Philadelphia is cursed with a set of men who seem resolved to counteract all our efforts against the Stamp Act, and are daily endeavoring to suppress the spirit of liberty among us. You know I mean the Quakers. They have openly spoke in favor of the Act and declare it high treason to speak against the English Parliament. … O Franklin, Franklin, thou curse to Pennsylvania and America, may the most accumulated vengeance burst speedily on thy guilty head!” L.H. Butterfield, ed., Letters of Benjamin Rush (Princeton, 1951), I, 18. Samuel Smith was a former New Englander, now a Philadelphia merchant.

6James Tilghman; above, p. 301 n.

7A Philadelphia merchant, active in the affairs of the new Anglican church in Philadelphia, St. Peter’s, and a member of its first vestry. PMHB, XLVII (1923), 343, 356; XLVIII (1924), 41, 54.

8Nothing has been established concerning the identity of this godmother or the nature of the legacy. Mary Cash Leacock (F.2.2; 1694–1765), a relative of DF who had died October 13 (above, p. 317), may be the person referred to; she would have been of an appropriate age to have stood sponsor at Sally’s christening, or possibly even at DF’s. The context of DF’s comment suggests that one of the churches was a beneficiary of the will.

9DF has written something that looks like “with pateke,” but the editors can only guess that she intended some phrase conveying the implication of “critical.”

1The house at the front of the lot recently bought from the Syddons.

2Not found.

3Col. John Hunter of Hampton, Va.; above, VI, 223 n.

4BF had asked Hugh Roberts, Aug. 9, 1765, to find two early Pennsylvania fireplaces for a French friend; above, p. 236. Roberts replied, Nov. 27, 1765, reporting on the few he had located; below, pp. 386–7.

5Probably Robert Grace and John Potts.

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