Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Deborah Franklin (II), [16 May 1767]

From Deborah Franklin (II)

ALS: American Philosophical Society

[May 16, 17672]

My Dearest Dear Child

on thusday I reseved yours with one inclosed to Salley with the Ring. Yours is dated March 17.3 You cante thing what pleshuer thees dear littel letters give to me as I know you thinke of me ofen. The Bairer of this is mr. Franses the Eldest son of your old friend mr. Franses.4 He has bin in quite distres senes yisterday was week on a Counte of the faileor of sume marchantes misforten in London.5 Hough ever it is sed thair is sume more faverabel a Countes Cume but it is thought advisabel for him to leve his famely and go to London. He sente to know if I had aney thing to send to you I sente him word that I wold see him with Salley if shee was abel to go ought. Shee has bin verey un well for sume day and this day had a tuthe drawn and is verey febel now so as not to be abel to write as shee has loste much sleepe. I have parte of a letter wrote to you which I shall send by Capt. Friend and by the packit.6 I no that I nead not say to you that if you can serve mr. Franses I wish you wold, but his buisnes is so much of an other kind but the saying kind things to pepel in distres is plesing and that I know you will. I am ashamed and sorrey abought the Bill but I hope to send it by the packit. My love to mrs. Stephenson to our polley to our Salley Franklin to all our Friends. Salley Duty. Shee is laid down and I am a going to see my worthey Cosin Northe and a sad thing it will be. I heard this morning that yisterday mornin a Dafter of her Dafters in a fitt of Dispair has put anend to her life. Shee was as fine a Gerle as I ever saw. I hear that shee threw herselef ought of a window into a crick at Christen Bridg.7 Salley sleeps so I seel this and we shall write next week. I am as ever your Afeckshonet wife

D Franklin

Addressed: To / Benjamin Franklin Esqr. / at Mrs. Stevenson’s Craven street / in the Strand / London / per favr. of / Mr. Francis

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2The address page establishes that this is the letter DF wrote between writing the two installments of the one immediately above. Pa. Chron., May 11–18, 1767, stated that the brig Mary and Elizabeth, Capt. Sparks, had sailed for London “Yesterday,” that is, May 17, “with whom went Passenger Mr. Tench Francis, of this City, Merchant.” Since Francis took this letter with him, DF must have written it on the 16th or early on the 17th; in view of some of the phraseology in the letter, the 16th is almost certain.

3Not found.

4Tench Francis, Jr. (1730–1800), was the son of one of BF’s associates in founding the Academy; above, III, 428 n. Active as a merchant, the younger man does not seem to have been permanently injured financially by the difficulties that took him to England in 1767; PMHB, XLIX (1925), 82–3.

5The London Gazette, March 11, 1767, reported the bankruptcy of Goddard Hagen and David Wolpman of London; London Chron., March 10–12, 1767. The news was given in Pa. Chron., May 11–18, 1767, via New York, of the bankruptcy “of Hagan and Comp. and another great house there, who were the chief contractors for most of the shiploads of wheat, that have gone lately from Philadelphia, Maryland, and this city.” Many American merchants would be adversely affected, for the wheat had been shipped to Italy, where, as matters turned out, there was plenty on hand and the price was lower than in New York. A London dispatch in Pa. Gaz., and Pa. Jour., May 14, 1767, was much more hopeful of a favorable outcome of the transaction.

6The letter immediately above.

7 “Cosin Northe” was Sarah Merryweather North, wife of John North (1701–1769; E.2.6), who had lived in Philadelphia since at least 1725; above, VIII, 146. The surname of her granddaughter was probably Boon. Pa. Chron., May 11–18, 1767, reported that “Last Thursday Morning [May 14] a young Woman, late of this City, who had for some Time been under a melancholy Turn of Mind, was found drowned in the River Christiana.” Neither of the other papers reported the death, but on May 21 Pa. Gaz. printed a short letter signed “Z.,” declaring that the publisher of the Chronicle “has made a great Mistake, in asserting that the young Woman was found drowned in the River Christiana, had, for some time, been under a melancholy Turn of Mind. The Delusion she was under was the very opposite Extreme.” The writer went on to chide Goddard for giving space to this report and to one of another drowning that had been printed immediately after it in the Chronicle.

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