Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Deborah Franklin, [5–8 February? 1766]

From Deborah Franklin

AL (incomplete)5: American Philosophical Society

[February 5–8? 1766]6

[First part missing] as I am a lone [torn] down to Chat a littel with you all thow I have not aney thing extray[ordinary to say. I] have had Parker hear for 3 weeks under a viloant fitt of the Goute in [the limbs] and the Stumack he ses his harte I say it was the stamp ackte or the illnes of his Son but be it as it will he is better and went home yisterday morning. Indead he has had a sad time of it7 in dead I can assure you and so I was a going to say but I ad no more than that thank God I am as well as yousual. Brother Petter I think is verey poorly8 but as he is a dockter he Cures himselef maney times a day but look very miserabel in dead so that everey bodey that sees him telles me hough he looks. I was told within this week that he was un well. I wente over. he was in his chamber I wente up to see him. He wondered aney bodey Cold say that he was un well and began to administer or subscribe to me I sed I wished he wold be advise by me and live like me and look like my Papey and me but his knoledg is so superer to mine I Cold not porswaid him to follow my advise but to be as serious as I Can I never saw but only Mr. Kinersly look like him sense I knew aney thing. If he donte recover soon it is over with him. Sister9 is verey well. Our poor Mrs. Smith Contineus verey ill still 15 or 17 weeks since shee was first taken ill and shee is not like to get beter.1

So far I wrote and then had the pleshuer of a visit from Mr. and Mrs. [illegible] thair marreyed Dafter Mrs. Rhodes the younger and Miss Rhodes.2 Laste night Mr. Rhodes Came to see me he wanted twenty pounds for the Bricklair. I sent it to him this day. He will write to you and tell you hough it is for my memery is not safe boute the pente houses is don.3 I paid above tin poundes for shingeles and sume other thinges. So you see that when a house is dun thair is much to be dun after. I shold be glad if we Cold get the well duge but I am afraid it will not be dun this seson all thow I am told the awarde4 is finish but it is seled up tell the Corte but when that is to be I no not so I Cante tel [torn] to due so I due nothing only I have had all the rubig of the lime Conveyed [to the farm] and sente Gorge to spred it over the pastur5 with what ashes we have ma[de. Gorge is] for my [planting] an orchord at paster but we difer in senteyments [then he is] for my giting worke men and masonry to buld a bridg over the [run as it] will be more [easy] to [step] over. We difer in that all so indead his marraig [is of no] servis to him nor aney one eles but one thing I beleve thair is like to [be no] more Gorges which is sume Comforte to me. I ad no more on that [head.] Salley is gon to the Assembley to danse with a friend of Mager Smalls6 so I have had my letter readey be for the packit Comes in as thair is not time to writ when he dus Come as the stay is verey shorte. [Remainder missing.]

[In the margin of the last paragraph:] this was wrote two weeks a go.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Some words near the end are lost by a tear in the ms; they have been supplied from a partial reprinting of the letter in [William Duane, ed.], Letters to Benjamin Franklin, from His Family and Friends. 1751–1790 (N.Y., 1859), pp. 21–3.

6This letter can be dated by its references to James Parker’s staying at BF’s house for three weeks and to DF’s advancing Samuel Rhoads £20 “this day” to pay a “Bricklair.” From Parker’s letter to BF of Feb. 3, 1766, we know that he came to Philadelphia to work on BF and Hall’s accounts on Jan. 16, 1766, so that if he had been at BF’s house for exactly three weeks and departed the day before this letter was written—DF said he left “yisterday morning”—the letter could be dated Feb. 7, 1766. As for DF advancing Rhoads £20 “this day” to pay a bricklayer, in Rhoads’ accounts for building BF’s house, kept by his son (see above, XI, 456), there is an entry, Feb. 6, 1766, of a payment of £20 by Rhoads to two of his employees for work done on BF’s “Well Little House &c.,” the “Little House” apparently meaning the “pente houses” whose completion DF mentions in this letter. Therefore, if DF advanced Rhoads the money the same day he paid his workmen, the present letter can be dated Feb. 6, 1766. Thus it appears to have been written on either Feb. 6 or Feb. 7, 1766, give or take a day or so.

7In his letter of Feb. 3, 1766 Parker related that he had been ill for three months, his son for nearly four.

8In her letter of Jan. 12, 1766, DF had remarked that Peter Franklin’s physical appearance was distressing, he being, with Ebenezer Kinnersley, as thin as any man she had ever seen. On Peter’s pretensions to medical knowledge, BF observed in 1763 that he was “touch’d a little in his Head with something of the Doctor, of which I hope to cure him.” See above, X, 392.

9Peter’s wife, Mary Harman Franklin (C.9).

1Mrs. Mary “Goody” Smith died, March 22, 1766; see below, p. 198.

2The indecipherable name is a short one, of about four letters. Commas should probably have been inserted after the name and after “Dafter.” The former of the two Rhoads women was apparently Sarah Pemberton Rhoads, whom Samuel Rhoads, Jr., married on June 27, 1765; the latter was Samuel Rhoads, Sr.’s, younger daughter, Hannah, who never married. PMHB, xiv (1890), 421; xix (1895), 71.

3They had been still unfinished in October 1765; above, XII, 298.

4The award evidently concerned judgment on the title to a lot adjacent to BF’s property on the west; see above, XII, 166–7 n. Apparently the Franklin well was going to be dug close to this boundary and DF wanted to clear the matter with the rightful owners before proceeding.

5George was BF’s Negro servant. For BF’s pasture on Hickory Lane, see above, II, 310.

6For Major John Small of the 42nd Royal Highlanders, who had carried to England the news of Bouquet’s successful expedition against the western Indians in the fall of 1764, see above, XII, 42 n. The major’s friend has not been identified, although he was probably a fellow army officer.

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