Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Mary Franklin, 26 August 1766

To Mary Franklin9

ALS: American Philosophical Society

London, Augt. 26. 1766

Dear Sister

It has pleased God at length to take from us my only remaining Brother, and your affectionate Husband, with whom you have lived in uninterrupted Harmony and Love near half a Century.1

Considering the many Dangers and Hardships his Way of Life led him into,2 and the Weakness of his Constitution, it is wonderful that he lasted so long. It was God’s Goodness that spared him to us. Let us, instead of repining at what we have lost, be thankful for what we have enjoyed.

Before this can reach you, every thing that can be said to you by way of Consolation, will have been said to you by your Friends, or will have occurred to your own good Understanding. It is therefore needless for me to enlarge on that Head. But as you may be under some Apprehensions for your future Subsistence, I am desirous of making you as easy and comfortable in that respect as I can. Your adopted Son Mr. Brown, has wrote to me, very properly, “that he shall always think it his Duty to stand by and assist you to the utmost of his Power.” 3 He is yet young; but I hope he has Solidity enough to conduct a Printing-House with Prudence and to Advantage. I shall therefore put one into his Hands to be carried on in Partnership with you; and if he manages well, I shall hereafter farther encourage him. I have not time to write to him now; but shall by the Packet. I have however desired my Wife to deliver to you and him the Press and Letters that were B. Mecom’s, which Mr. Parker us’d at Burlington;4 and to let you go into the House where I suppose they are, as the Rent of that you are now in is heavy.5 I can now only add that I am as ever Your affectionate Brother

B Franklin

Sister Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9Of course BF could not know, when he wrote this letter to his recently widowed sister-in-law, that she too had died twelve days before he wrote.

1Since Peter and Mary are recorded as having been married Sept. 2, 1714, they must have been in the 52d year of their marriage when he died.

2Peter Franklin appears to have been a ship’s captain at one stage of his career.

3The letter containing this dutiful undertaking has not been found.

4Parker’s letters of 1765–66 contain many references to the Mecom printing equipment he had used at Burlington and had sent to Philadelphia before moving to New York.

5In her letter informing BF of Mary’s death, DF indicated that the Peter Franklins had been paying 20s. a week rent.

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