Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Deborah Franklin, [6 August 1772]

From Deborah Franklin

AL: American Philosophical Society

[August 6,2 1772]

My Dear Child

I reseved yours by the packit3 it gives me much pleshuer to hear that you air well and happey. I was in hopes that a packit or a vesill wold [have?] arived before this wente as I saw it in the papers4 as I was in hopes that wold in forme when you intend to returne agen to your one [own] home. I cante write to you as I am so verey unfitt to expres my selef and not a bell to due as I yousd for that illness I had was a polsey all thou I donte shake my memerey failes me I cante expres my selef as I yousd to due. I did tell your friend Dr. Small when he was heare5 that I had thoute it was a polsey my write hand is verey weak some times I am not abel to try on my close. I am verey Low sperreted that it is verey trubel sume to tell what I wold say it wold be of servis to ride but it is not my lot in life but yister day my Nabor Haddock6 took me a littel way round a feeld or two for I have bin verey un well for 5 or 6 days I donte make aney complaint to you. I saw yisterday that several vesils from N york and Sparkes frome this plase air got to Ingland I beleve Dr. Small was in one of them I hope he is safe arived att home and well. Mr. Beache ses that he is a good man. I hope Capt. Folkner is safe arive and well he did take a hankifchar to Mrs. Stephenson which I hope is got safe to her7 I must aske in faver for sume muslim for Salley to worke for her selef I have one my selef but have not wore it shee has instruckted severel of the first ranke hear if you wold let me know if you shold returne home this fall I heard that Mrs. Write has seen you but when shee wente I did not know when shee went8 or I shold a given her a Letter I send you inclosd Miss Hadock letter to you.9 Billey and Mrs. Franklin was [here?] sum weeks this spring and the widdow and her children and Servantes who is gon home Agen I supose you had heard her son is a maloncoley obieck to look on I cante helpe tellin you that I am thankfell that his mother has taken him home with her for I think it beste for him to be with his mother1 if I shold venter to say anything of graite folks I shold say it greves me much for such maloncoly things that I read of I wish for better a countes. I ad no more. I observe with pleshuer you tell me a boute the dear child you tell me and the plesher his grand mama takes of her and I have bin told with so much plesher of your grand dafter in this place shee is a fine young Ladey shee is the verey pickter of her father a fine Child indead.2

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2DF mentions noting in the paper “yisterday” the arrival in England of several ships from New York and Sparks from Philadelphia. These arrivals were reported in the Pa. Gaz., Aug. 5, and we are assuming that she read the paper the day it appeared.

3BF’s letter above of May 5 came, we believe, by that month’s packet, the Mercury, which reached New York about July 20: ibid., July 23.

4The June packet, the Lord Hyde, which in all likelihood carried BF’s letter above of June 2, did not reach New York until Aug. 6 (ibid., Aug. 12); we assume that DF saw in one of the Philadelphia papers a notice, which we have not found, that the ship was expected soon.

5Dr. Alexander Small had arrived in New York from Jamaica in the spring; see his letter to BF above, April 13. When he visited Philadelphia we do not know, but he was back in England by the late summer; see BF to Evans below, Aug. 22.

6For Eden Haydock, DF’s neighbor on High Street, see above, XII, 14 n.

7Falconer, in the Britannia, had arrived months before (London Chron., June 16–18), and Mrs. Stevenson was proud of the “hankifchar” that he brought her: BF to DF below, Oct. 7.

8Neither do we know when she went, but she was in England by the end of March; see BF to Jane Mecom above, March 30.

9See Rebecca Haydock’s letter above, under July 20.

1We can only hope that BF found this reference more intelligible than we do. The only widow in DF’s circle who might have gone home was, to the best of our knowledge, WF’s sister-in-law, Mrs. Downes, who had lost her husband the previous autumn (above, XVIII, 195 n). She may have had a son, and may have returned to Barbados; she seems, insofar as anything in a letter from DF can be judged in context, the most likely possibility.

2The first grandparent was Mrs. Stevenson, and the child (despite DF’s reference to “her”) was young William Hewson. BF’s “grand dafter” was the Foxcroft baby, for whom see BF to Foxcroft above, under May 5.

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