Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Elizabeth Empson, 23 April 1771

From Elizabeth Empson6

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Pool April 23d 1771

Dear Sir

I received yours by the last post—and return you a thousand thanks for the money you are so kind as to Alow me which I have Drawn on you for. I am affraid by the Manner and Shortness of your letter that you [are?] displeased with the freedom I have taken [in my writing?] to you. But alass Sir if you [were in my situation?] without friends or money you [would understand?] Me. I should never have solicited your favour for Mr. Empson unless I had thought it was in your power to do it as I know a Change is easily [made] if a person has a Supliant freind to speak [for him?]. I did hope to have fownd that friend [in you,] but tis My Misfortune that tis not in yo[ur power] to do anny thing for us. But perhaps [it] may yet be. I have made so free as [to] send a letter inclosed to you to be so good as to send it when you have an Oportunity.7 Mr. Empson joines with me in best respects and Manny Thanks. I remain Dear Sir your most oblidged humble Servant

Elizath. Empson

Addressed: To / Benjn: Franklin Esqr. in / Craven Street on the Strand / London

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6This is the only letter in the papers to or from her. She was the daughter of the Franklins’ Philadelphia neighbor, the silversmith Samuel Soumaine, and had married Thomas Empson in 1763. Above, XI, 190 n. Almost nothing is known about either of them after the marriage. They had reportedly been in Ireland in 1765 (above, XII, 63), and the letter suggests that they had then moved to England; in any case the husband had clearly fallen on bad times.

7The enclosure was presumably to one or both of her parents.

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