Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Deborah Franklin, 12 January 1766

From Deborah Franklin

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Jan. the 12 [1766]

My Dear Child

[As it] is verey Cold I did not go ought to day so was a writeing a letter to our Sister Janey in anser to one I had wrote to her sense the deth of her husband4 I Cante helpe thinking the more trials shee do meet with the more shee shines I pray god to bless and kep her.

So this minit or with in this ower the poste Come in and the packit is arived and I have the pleshuer of a letter from you5 which never failes of giveing me graite pleshuer I will begin and tell you that Capt. Sparkes and Capt. Hammit arived safe and our friends Came in all in good helth I saw my Miss Grayham [Graeme] next evening as I did Mr. Evens I have not seen Mr. Petters yit6 as I rely am So much taken up a visiting the sick it was on tusday that Capt. Sparkes arived and on friday night Capt. Roboson7 and on satterday morning I reseved a letter from you8 with a note from Mrs. Nelson.9 I read them bouthe and got a verey desent young man to go down to the vesill for her but Capt. Roboson sente me word he wold bring her up and brakefaste with me So he did. Shee was but poorley but after drink a dish or two of tee I had a fier maid in the chaimber up one pair of stairs and shee wente to bead and got sum Sleep shee was better and I did all in my power to make a Straing plase agreabel to her which I hope I did. The Capt. meet with a good deal of trubel1 so we did not get the things on shore so soon as I did expeckte but att severel times we did. I will tell you Mr. Evens Sente the pair of shoveles and tonges prodigously [rusted?] but he Cold not helpe it.2 By Robison I have reseved the boyler with the things menshoned in your letter3 the painted flore cloathe and the other mater which is verey good the set of Chaney quite whole the tee Pot and salte for which I give you maney thankes and if I live tell your Birthday4I think to fill it with punch and treet sum of your friends the Cambridg [scissors?] you sente I took one as you desined one for me but before thay Come on shore I told Mr. Rhodes5 of them he semed plesed at hearing of such things and sed sumtimes he had bin put to a lose for wante of a meshuer so on freyday laste he Come to see me I shoud it to him and he was much plesd with it. I maid him a presant of it and I make no doute but you will say I did write. Now I will tell you sum thing of our one [own] buisnes firste a bought that land in Chester Countey6 I never heard you say aney thing but what you wrote be for you lefte the Cape that I sente to Mr. Parker. He did the busnis but never sed one word to me a bought it nor I never knew aney thing tell one day I had bin to church when I Came home I found a letter on the tabel direckted to me it was from Amos Strutel Smarte and Shorte demanding of me 18 pound intreste money due on that plantashon. I wrote to Mr. Parker a line or two and inclosed his letter to me and took it to the ofis and I had not bin thair more then 2 minites when Strutel Come in. I told him I was quite a Strainger to the a faire but that letter that I had then brought to the ofis was to inquier of Mr. Parker a bought the afair and his [nos?] in it. He was verey shorte with me7 so, parker thot he shold a told me sum thing a bought it but had let it slip his memerey and took the deades up with him but then sente them down to me and sed the money muste be paid so I wente down and paid him the 18 pounds and I raly think him one of the rudeste men I ever meet with. I have had one or two to hier the plase but then thair Comes sumbody and ses that thay air Roges and will spoyle the plase. I did inquier in whose Congruygash[on] it was in thay tell me in F Allisons8 and that thair is none but roges all a bout. I paid ten shillins tackes be for but Gorge Read of New casel9 was to see me I spook to him to see if we Cold get a Chap[?] to sel it to for he ses that he thinkes it in the worste plase in all the Countey. So far on that head now for sumthing which I hope will be more plesing but Mr. Hughes ses he shall write to you a bought it as he Can tell you better then I can but this I have paid to wordes [towards] the land I beleve it is in NovaScosha or sum such plase but to be shorte I have paid 53 pounds to young Wain be fore the Deades is dun but he had borrowed the money of a man that was a going ought of town so you see that I am a raile Land Jober.1 I tell Salley this is for Grandchildren2 shee semed verey well plesed att it and thinkes we shall have sume in good time I hope I have dun as you wold have me or as you wold if you had bin at home your selef.

The two Mrs. [Messrs.] Foxcroftes3 air gon to Virjaney thees three weeks we have not heard from them indead I donte know wather aney poste has bin up sense that time. I shall deliver your mesages as you desier me. Poor Parker has bin verey ill a long time and so has his son4 his wife has bin oblige to go twise to woodbridg as it was thought Sammey was deying but he Cold not stir with the Goute Shee and Jenkey is thair now. On twelef night5 Jemey Logan Came to aske Salley to go with him to Burlinton the next day.6 Shee was gon to spend the evening att Mr. Roses [Ross’s]7 so I sed shee was of aige shold anser for her selef. Shee sed yis and next morning thay set ought in a Chariot and 4. He Came downe on freyday and left her be hind. I had no letter as shee was a cuming over with him so had not time to write. Our river is froze over. On monday morning laste it was 5 degres Colder then aney time laste winter. I have my poor Chin froste bit with the Cold. I was in hopes that our friend Mrs. Smith wold a got the better of her disorder but I have bin to see her this evening and found her verey ill shee ses shee muste dey.8 Shee Cante bair aney bodey to speek to her shee is so low sperrited. It is thought bouthe the Mr. Norrises is verey near thair ende.9 Our nabor Capt. Horrison1 is dead and poor Henerey Pastick*was froze to deth and sum other man with him.2 So far I wrote by Candelite. Mrs. Thomson3 desiers that I wold give her love to you as doe every bodey that I have seen this day and thay are not a fhew. Remember me to Capt. Orrey4 and Ladey and Miss. Salley has the sattin. Good old Master Beverag5 was maid verey happey with that letter from Sir Robort Pringel.6 The worthey Jentelman ascd me to give him leve to set you down as a Subscriber for his Book and I gave him leve.7 I hope it was write and he has had one Bound and left for you Smith8 has given the good man sum trubel a boute it he teles him the revewers will due sum thing to it but I for get what it is so leve it. I sente Gorge9 to inquier hough your good old man and woman at paster [pasture] did.1 He ses thay air well and was glad to hear from the Madam Gorge ses thay have not got a Child as he Cold see I had maney things more to say and if I live I will but the Packit Came before ites time and is to go at 12 a clock and it is near one. My love to all the good pepel that I know. Tell Mrs. Emson that it has plesed God to spair her Papey to his famely a littel Longer.2I was to see Brother and Sister3 laste evening. Brother ses he is verey well but I never say aney body but Mr. Kinersly4 look so thin as he dus. Sister Complains much but look verey well. All our nabors come in one after another to send Love to you. I have not heard one word from aney bodey att Burlinton so Cante tell hough thay due nor wather Mrs. Nelson got up well lets hope shee did. Debey sends her Duty to you Nancy sendes hers and Susanah hers. I am my Dear Child your afeckshonet wife

D Franklin

I did not forget for I hope I have a graitefull harte.

I thanke you for the fine tee Pott for the Carpetes and the verey fine brom. It is verey hansome. For the Salte which is verey excepeabel to me for I like it verey much indeed. For the butyfull Candel stickes5 and for the Shoefels and tonges which is Cureyous [curious].

D Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Jane Mecom had written DF on Sept. 28, 1765, announcing her husband’s death. DF’s answer has not been found. Van Doren, Franklin-Mecom, pp. 83–4.

5Probably BF’s letter of Nov. 9, 1765; see above, XII, 360–1.

6The Mary and Elizabeth, Capt. James Sparks, carrying the Rev. Richard Peters and the Rev. Nathaniel Evans and Miss Elizabeth Graeme, and the Dragon, Capt. Francis Hammett, arrived in Philadelphia on Thursday, Dec. 26, 1765. See above, XII, 420 n, and Pa. Jour., Jan. 2, 1766.

7The Prince George, Capt. James Robinson, arrived in Philadelphia on Friday, Dec. 27, 1765. Pa. Jour., Jan. 2, 1766.

8This letter, mentioned in his of Oct. 2, 1765, has not been found. See above, XII, 289.

9Apparently an English woman whom BF had recommended for domestic service with a New Jersey family, possibly WF’s. DF to BF, Oct. 19, 1767; BF to DF, Feb. 13, 1768, both in APS.

1Captains Sparks and Robinson both brought stamped paper with them and on Dec. 28, 1765, they were forced to make public declarations that they would not deliver it to Stamp Distributor John Hughes, without first giving public notice to the local citizenry. Sparks and Robinson put the stamped paper aboard H.M.S. Sardine, Capt. Hawker, thereby satisfying the opponents of the Stamp Act in Philadelphia. Pa. Gaz. and Pa. Jour., Jan. 2, 1766.

2See above, XII, 290.

3Probably the missing letter mentioned in a previous note.

4January 17 was BF’s sixtieth birthday.

5Samuel Rhoads (above, II, 406 n), who was supervising the construction of BF’s house.

6For an account of these lands which William Dunlap had assigned to the post office to pay debts incurred while he was postmaster of Philadelphia, see above, XI, 469 n. The roles of James Parker and Amos Strettell in this transaction are explained there.

7Strettell’s manner with DF may have been due in part to the fact that he was an active political opponent of BF. See above, XI, 390, 407 n, 412.

8Francis Alison was a Presbyterian minister, vice provost of the College of Philadelphia, and a political enemy of BF. See above, II, 392 n; XI, 526 n. He had been the settled minister at New London, Chester Co., 1737–52, before moving to Philadelphia.

9George Read (1733–1798) was a lawyer who settled in Delaware after studying in Philadelphia. He was attorney general of Delaware, 1763–1774, member of the Assembly, 1765–1777, and a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses. He was a member of the Federal Constitutional Convention in 1787, where he was a conspicuous advocate of the rights of small states. He was one of Delaware’s U. S. senators from 1789 to 1793, and from 1793 until 1798 was chief justice of the state. Read investigated the situation of Dunlap’s land and sent DF a letter, Feb. 7, 1766, advising her to sell it or even let it lie waste rather than rent it, as the “Inhabitants of that Quarter are generally poor and worthless.” APS.

1For BF’s participation in Nova Scotia land speculation, see above, XII, 345–50. “Wain” was “Mad Anthony” Wayne of Revolutionary War fame; early in 1765 he had been in Nova Scotia, surveying lands for a Philadelphia syndicate of which BF was a member. See ibid.

2BF, however, devised “all the lands I hold or have a right to, in the province of Nova Scotia” to WF, although it is not clear that WF ever derived any benefit from them.

3BF’s colleague, John Foxcroft, deputy postmaster general for the northern district of North America, and his brother, Thomas, who was appointed postmaster of Philadelphia after Peter Franklin’s death later in the present year.

4For the illness of Parker and his son, see above, pp. 11–12.

5That is, January 6.

6James Logan, Jr., had obviously offered to take Sally to Burlington to visit WF.

7Sally would have been visiting Margaret Ross, the daughter of BF’s good friend John Ross.

8Mrs. Mary Smith (“Goody” Smith), having suffered some time with the “numb Palsey,” died on March 22, 1766. See below, p. 198, and Van Doren, Franklin-Mecom, p. 89.

9Charles Norris (above, II, 376 n) died on Jan. 15, 1766. His brother Isaac, the speaker, died on July 13, 1766. Pa. Gaz., Jan. 23, July 17, 1766.

1Henry Harrison, former alderman and mayor of Philadelphia, died on Jan. 3, 1766. Pa. Gaz., Jan. 9, 1766.

2Bastick was frozen to death taking a load of fish to New Castle in an open boat, Dec. 30, 1765. See Pa. Gaz., Jan. 16, 1766.

3Charles Thomson’s wife, a neighbor.

4For Lewis Ourry, Bouquet’s quartermaster and commissary officer, see above, VII, 62–3 n.

5John Beveridge (1703–1767), a teacher for upwards of forty years in his native Scotland and in America, was appointed professor of Latin at the College of Philadelphia in 1758. In Pa. Jour., Oct. 3, 1765, he invited subscriptions to an edition of his work that William Bradford published later in the year as Epistolae Familiares et Alia Quaedam Miscellanea. Familiar Epistles, and Other Miscellaneous Pieces, Wrote originally in Latin Verse,. . . To which are added several Translations into English Verse, by different Hands, &c.

6Sir Robert Pringle (1690–1779) of Stichell, Roxburgh, Scotland, was the elder brother of BF’s friend, Dr. John Pringle (vi, 178 n). G.E. Cokayne, Complete Baronetage, iv (London, 1904), 319. In a note to one of his poems Beveridge praised Sir Robert as “a gentleman of the greatest Virtue and fairest Reputation; to whom the Author is indebted for many obligations, which he gratefully acknowledges.” The poem, which mentions the loss of Pringle’s eldest son John (d. 1740), suggests that the young man may have been a pupil of Beveridge’s in Scotland.

7BF is noted as subscribing for two copies.

8The Rev. William Smith.

9An aged Negro servant.

1BF owned a pasture on Hickory Lane (above, II, 310), which he evidently rented to an “old man and woman,” not otherwise identified. See Penrose R. Hoopes, “Cash Dr To Benjamin Franklin,” PMHB, lxxx (1956), 50.

2Elizabeth Empson was the daughter of the Franklins’ neighbor, Samuel Soumaine, the silversmith; both he and his wife had been seriously ill; above, XI, 190 n; XII, 272, 302.

3Peter Franklin and his wife, Mary.

4Ebenezer Kinnersley (above, IV, 192 n), BF’s collaborator in many electrical experiments.

5See above, XII, 248.

Authorial notes

[The following note(s) appeared in the margins or otherwise outside the text flow in the original source, and have been moved here for purposes of the digital edition.]

º *The Porter he was a good father indeed.

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