Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Mary Stevenson, [before 10 July 1770]

To Mary Stevenson

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Wednesday P M. [before July 10, 17707]

Dear Polly

I send you a few of your Translations.8 I did not put your Name as the Translator, (which I at first intended) because I apprehended it might look like Vanity, in you, and as I shall otherwise make it known, I think the omitting it, will look like Modesty. Mr. H. is here, requesting me to speak to Mrs. Tickell, which I have promis’d to do on Friday morning.9 Adieu, Your affectionate Friend

B Franklin

100 are printed, to give to our Friends. Send for as many of them as you please.1

Addressed: To / Miss Stevenson / at Mrs Tickell’s / Kensington

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7The date of Polly’s marriage to William Hewson.

8Jared Sparks, in one of his editorial vagaries, attached the first sentence of this letter to another from Polly in 1782, and printed the whole as a single letter under the later date. Works, IX, 224. The translations were of Barbeu-Dubourg’s Petit code de la raison humaine, for which see above, XVI, 204 n, and Barbeu-Dubourg to BF below, Nov. 25.

9William Hewson was presumably trying to persuade Mrs. Tickell to accept his suit for her niece’s hand. BF was successful enough as a go-between, it may be conjectured, so that Hewson wrote Mrs. Tickell the letter referred to in BF to Polly below, July 24.

1Alfred O. Aldridge mentions the mystery of a “ghost” edition, which has not survived, of Polly’s translation of the Code. “Jacques Barbeu-Dubourg, a French Disciple of Benjamin Franklin,” APS Proc. XCV (1951), 383 n. BF is clearly referring, not to a published edition, but to a small private printing, the disappearance of which would be no mystery.

Index Entries