Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Dorothea Blunt, [24 May 1772]

From Dorothea Blunt

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Streatham Sunday 2 o Clock [May 24, 17726]

Dear Sir

I promis’d you to meet your agreable friend on Tuesday in Craven Street, and myself the pleasure of seeing both you and that Lady, but an express arriv’d this day from Odiham with the disagreable news of My Brother Walters little James being ill of a sore throat and fever. My Brother set out to go to him7 before I cou’d conquer some scruples that held my tongue when I wish’d to say I will accompany you, but the moment it became impossible I overcame them and immediately resolv’d to set out in the machine tomorrow Morning. I shou’d rejoice that it suited you to go the same road so soon, not only because I shou’d like to go with you, but shou’d be inform’d of some little remedy that I might prevail on his father to administer tho not prescrib’d by Dr. Mentrik [?] nor approv’d by him.8 Do you know where some more of the same sort of american bisquits that you sent to Sir Charles, are to be procured because I am requested to send to a friend in the country? If you do I shall be much oblig’d to you to send Miss Henckell9 word, who will be in Fenchurch Street. Remember me to Mrs. Stevenson and the family belonging to her and believe me dear Sir your affectionate and oblig’d friend

D: Blunt

Addressed: Doctor Franklin / Craven Street / Strand

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6We assume, for once with real confidence, that this letter is a postscript to the preceding document, which contained a promise that Dolly found she could not fulfill.

7James (d. 1832) was at the time Walter Blunt’s only child: Burke’s Peerage, p. 329. The youngster must have been taken ill while visiting his uncle, Sir Charles, whereupon Walter left hastily for Odiham. The Blunt brothers are discussed in note 5 above.

8In her letter below, Aug. 14, Dolly herself claimed to be knowledgeable about home remedies. She expected BF to produce one, we suggest, because she knew of his recent correspondence with Hawkesworth, for which see the headnote on her letter above, May 1. Why she imagined that BF might join her on the road to Odiham we have no idea, unless she had heard that he was projecting a trip. He was, but not at the moment or in that direction.

9This elusive friend of Dolly, BF, and Polly Hewson has appeared before without adequate identification: above, XIV, 275; XV, 245. We now have reason to believe that she was named Elizabeth and was the daughter of the Governor of the Royal Exchange Assurance, James Henckell. Dolly wrote BF on March 18, 1779 (APS), that “Henckell with her respectable parents resides at Hampstead and works in her garden.” Mr. and Mrs. James Henckell died soon afterward in Hampstead, where Elizabeth also died in 1787: Gent. Mag., L (1780), 155; LII (1782), 551; LVII (1787), 839.

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