Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Deborah Franklin, 22 August 1772

To Deborah Franklin

ALS: American Philosophical Society; letterbook draft: Library of Congress

London, Augt. 22. 1772

My dear Child,

I wrote to you by Sutton that I was pretty well recovered of my Gout, but it return’d upon me that Day, and has handled me pretty severely for some Nights past, tho’ now I am something better.1

Mrs. West has another Son to whom I am Godfather.2 That Family is well, as is Mr. Strahan’s and Mr. Hewson’s. They always desire to be affectionately remember’d to you. My other Godson, Billy Hewson, grows a fine Boy, runs about every where, goes into the Cold Bath like a Man. I hope our dear little Benjamin does the same; to whom I will write a Letter as soon as he can read.

The Squirrels are still alive, and great Favourites in the Bishop’s and Lady Spencer’s Families.3

Mr. Small came well home, and is full of the Praises of our Country. I thank you for your Civilities to him as my Friend. He desires to be kindly remembred to you and yours.4

I am happy to hear that your Headach and other Pains have left you. I hope you will yet be favoured with a good Measure of Health.

You mention several Deaths of our Friends, as Mr. Sumaine, Mr. Hugh Evans, and Mr. Gordon. Then you mention Polly Pitts, but in a manner that I do not know whether you mean that she too is dead.5 I hope not. Pray tell me.

I rejoice that you have so much Pleasure with your King-Bird. Give him a Kiss from me with my Blessing. Mrs. Stevenson and Polly present their Love to you and yours. I am ever, my dear Debby Your very affectionate Husband

B Franklin

Addressed: To / Mrs. Franklin / Philadelphia / per Capt. Falconer

1The attack seems to have lasted intermittently for at least a month; see BF to Stiles above, July 22.

2Benjamin West, Jr. In June BF had, as godfather, spent five guineas in fees: Jour., p. 42.

3Margaret Georgiana Poyntz, a relative of Mrs. Shipley, had married John Spencer (1734–83), who since 1765 had been first Earl Spencer: Namier and Brooke, House of Commons, III, 460. They seem to have been notable for little more than their lineage. But their children, for whom the squirrels were clearly meant, were destined for fame. Georgiana (1757–1806) became, as Duchess of Devonshire, one of the most distinguished women of her day; see DNB under Georgiana Cavendish. George, second Earl Spencer (1758–1834), later headed the Admiralty during the most critical years in the struggle against revolutionary France. DNB.

4For Alexander Small’s brief visit to DF see her letter above, May 14–16.

5She was. For her death and those of Samuel Soumaine, Thomas Gordon, and Evan Evans see DF to BF above, June 30. Hugh Evans had also died that spring, at the age of ninety: above, XIV, 139 n.

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