Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Richard Bache, 5 August 1767

To Richard Bache

Copy: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

London, Aug. 5. 1767

Mr. B

I received yours of the 21st of May1 and am truly sorry to hear of your misfortune. It must however be a consolation to you that it cannot be imputed to any imprudence of your own, and that being yet in the early part of life, industry and good management may in a few years replace what you have lost. But in the mean time your own discretion will suggest to you how far it will [be] right to charge yourself with the expense of a family which if undertaken before you recover yourself, may forever prevent your emerging. I love my daughter perhaps as well as ever parent did a child, but I have told you before that my estate is small, scarce a sufficiency for the support of me and my wife, who are growing old and cannot now bustle for a living as we have done; that little can therefore be spared out of it while we live,2 and how far the profits of any business you are in or may expect after a total loss of your stock will go in housekeeping you can best judge.

I am obliged to you for the regard and preference you express for my child and wish you all prosperity; but unless you can convince her friends of the probability of your being able to maintain her properly, I hope you will not persist in a proceeding that may be attended with ruinous consequences to you both.3

I am Sir Your most obedient humble Servant

Richard Bache

1Not found, but apparently the letter, mentioned by WF, in which Bache gave BF “an exact Account” of a serious mercantile misfortune which had befallen him. See above, pp. 173–5.

2See above, p. 193, for BF’s admonitions to DF to practice frugality in view of their diminished income and for the marriage settlement he was willing to make for his daughter Sally.

3Sally and Richard disregarded BF’s advice and were married on Oct. 29, 1767. Pa. Gaz., Nov. 5, 1767.

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