From Margaret Stevenson2
ALS: American Philosophical Society
Westbury Nov: 22 1766
I rived hear Thursday Night at Ten a Clock alramd [alarmed] all the wilage Mrs. Moriss gone to Bead but got up. I cant express her Joy. I thought it wod have bin to much for her. It is a misrabl being for cold and hard Lod[g]ing. But Poor Mrs. Walker is every kind and car[e]full to keep me warm and gete me all the good [torn] she cane but how I am to geet to Luterworth I dont know they say it is near forty miles cross the Country. I beg you will wright to me by the return of the Post How you goe onn. I am goin to make Passtye and Bread for thay have one Overn and one Chimble. Saly is very well and Mrs. Moriss Mr. Walke &ct. He I think is Industrys at his work Boord and She too3 but its a Poor Plass to geat Bread for them Selfe and three Childen and Provition dear[er] than in London expect Butter. I live as Chipe as Possable. No Tea for what thay have I cant Drink but I get milk. The Passon [Parson] has bin to visit me and offers his vine and Sent a Math [Mat] to lay under my feat, the Sqres [Squire’s] Lady has sent for me so, my Dear Sir I am your verry humble Searvant
Mrs. Morris and Walker &c. &c. Send thear Duty the talkeing of you fills up the time that I am rely hapey. Pray Dear Sir send a Carid [Card] that Ingravaed about the Colnies.4
Addressed: To / Docter Benn: Franklin / In Craven Street / London
Endorsed: Mrs Stevenson from Westbury Nov. 66
2. From the phraseology of this letter it appears that BF’s landlady was escorting his young relative Sarah (Sally) Franklin (A.18.104.22.168.1.1)—who had spent some months in the Craven Street house—back to her father’s home in Lutterworth. They had stopped off in Westbury on the way to visit BF’s cousins, Hannah Walker (A.22.214.171.124.1) and Eleanor Morris (A.126.96.36.199). Margaret Stevenson in England, like DF in Pennsylvania and Jane Mecom in Massachusetts, belonged to a generation in which female education had dealt rather lightly with spelling. Letters by their daughters among the Franklin Papers suggest a major change in this respect from one generation to the next on both sides of the ocean. In any event, DF’s and Jane’s letters had given BF considerable practice before he had occasion to read many of Margaret Stevenson’s.
3. It is not clear what trade Thomas Walker followed; his wife was a lacemaker.
4. One of BF’s Stamp Act cards depicting “Magna Britania her Colonies Reduc’d.” See above, pp. 66–72.