Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Deborah Franklin, 5 June 1771

To Deborah Franklin

ALS: American Philosophical Society

London, June 5. 1771

My dear Child,

I have lately made a Journey of a Fortnight, to Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds, and Manchester3 and return’d only in time to be at Court on the King’s Birthday, which was yesterday. The Joy was in a fair way of being doubled on the same Day, for the Queen was deliver’d early this Morning of another Prince, the eighth Child, there being now six Princes and two Princesses, all lovely Children. The Prince of Wales and the Bishop of Oszabrug appear’d yesterday for the first time in the Drawing Room, and gave great Pleasure by their sensible manly Behaviour.4 My Journey has been of use to my Health, the Air and Exercise have given me fresh Spirits, and I feel now exceeding well, Thanks to God.

I wrote to you lately, and have received no Line from you per Capt. Sparks who is arrived. I suppose you have written by Falconer, who is not yet heard of. My Love to our Children and Grand Son. I am, as ever, Your affectionate husband

B Franklin

Addressed: To / Mrs Franklin / at / Philadelphia / via N York / Per Packet / B Free Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3See the résumé of Williams’ journal above, under May 28.

4The Queen eventually gave birth to fifteen children. Eight were alive at this time, but for all BF’s interest in royalty he transposed a boy and a girl: the new baby had three sisters and four brothers. The birth dates and eventual titles of the eight were: George (1762), Prince of Wales, Prince Regent, and King (1820–30); Frederick (1763), Duke of York and from infancy Bishop of Osnabrück, a tiny principality at the disposition of his father as Elector of Hanover; William (1765), Duke of Clarence and King (1830–37); Charlotte (1766), Queen of Würtemberg; Edward (1767), Duke of Kent and Queen Victoria’s father; Augusta (1768); Elizabeth (1770), Princess of Hesse-Homburg; and the newly born Ernest, Duke of Cumberland and King of Hanover (1837–51).

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