Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Ann Clay, 4 October 1771

From Ann Clay8

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Newcastle Octobr: 4 1771

Honoured sir

This comes with a letter from my son.9 I hope you will pardon the liberty I take in recommending his request to your notice; And shou’d he succeed I have no doubt of his good behavior, as the partiality of a parent wou’d not induce me to say that he is a sober discreet young Man did he not really merit it.

I have now been a widow four years and am in such circumstance as Ager prayed for when he says give me neither poverty nor riches,1 wisely judging that state the most likely to produce happiness. I have eleven Children and have as yet thank God reason to look upon that as an addition to my happiness.

He has beged the favor of you if there shou’d be a necessity for it to advance 200 guineas, for the payment of which I will be his security.

I have nothing more to add but wishing you a great deal of happiness, I conclude sir, your sincere friend and very humble servant

Ann Clay

Addressed: To / Benjamin Franklin Esquire

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8 Ann Curtis Clay (1723–89) was the daughter of Judge Jehu Curtis and the widow of Slator Clay, both of whom are briefly identified above, respectively, IV, 456 n and VI, 426 n.

9She had, as she mentions below, eleven children. Which one this was is impossible to say, but a likely candidate is Robert (1749–1831), who was starting his career as a Philadelphia merchant; he was subsequently ordained and served as rector of Immanuel Church in his native town of New Castle, Del. William B. Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit... (9 vols., New York, 1857–69), V, 357.

1The prayer of Agur, son of Jakeh. Proverbs 30: 8.

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