To Mary Stevenson
AL: American Philosophical Society
Inclos’d is a Letter from Mr. Coleman; it came under Cover of one to me, and the Seal of mine sticking to that of yours makes an Appearance as if yours had been broke open. Your Mother and I long’d indeed to know what it contain’d, but we were, as you express it, too formal, and would not poison your Crib9, tho’ we think we have a Right to see it. My Respects to Mrs. Tickel.1 I am, as ever,
8. BF’s old friend William Coleman, whose letter he enclosed with this note, had been in England from late spring until August, and must have met Polly during that visit. He arrived in Philadelphia in mid-October (Pa. Gaz., Oct. 20, 1768). His letters to BF and Polly have disappeared, but to judge by BF’s description of the seals they were sent from America; hence they could not have reached London until the end of November. They might have been written at any time before Coleman’s death in 1769, but in accordance with our practice this covering note is assigned to the earliest possible date.
9. “Crib” came by association to mean food; hence BF is saying that they would not spoil her fun.
1. Mrs. Stevenson’s elderly sister, Mrs. Mary Tickell, with whom Polly spent much of her time. See BF to Polly above, Oct. 28, 1768.