Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Mary Hewson, 10 June 1775

From Mary Hewson

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Craven Street June 10. 1775

My dear Sir

My mother promis’d Lord Drummond to send a letter to you by him,5 she deputed Mr. Williams to write it for her, but as he has already written by this Vessel he desir’d me to do it. I pleaded being very sleepy and stupid, they said writing would rouse and enliven me, I do not find they said true, however, I will write on.

I have the pleasure to tell you that my dear little folks are all well, they have all had the measles. My mother was urging me to day to wean my little girl, I cannot tell why, for I never was in better health; I pleaded for her by saying that as she is to be your grand daughter you would be very angry if I did not let her suck a year, my mother then was silent, for absent as well as present your opinion is her Law.

The next Letter I write to you I hope to be able to tell you I have settled with Mr. Mure, for we are now ready to make our aplication to him. Mr. Alexander has very obligingly offer’d me his Assistance as a negociator.6

I ask’d my mother if she had any thing to say. Only her Love, and that her patience is almost exhausted, it will not hold out above ten days longer if she does not hear from you.

Dolly is with her sister at Bromley who has been extremely ill but is now better.7 I do not attempt to give you any but domestic news, all the political you have from abler hands. I am as much as ever an American at heart and Dear Sir Your faithful and affectionate

Mary Hewson

Remember me to Mr. and Mrs. Bache my Son and his Brother.8

[In Mrs. Stevenson’s hand: My Love to Dear Temple I Long to hear.]

I hope he will forgive my neglect, I often think of him tho’ I confess I at this time forgot he was with you.

Addressed: Dr Franklin

Endorsed: Polly Hewson

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5This is the first appearance on BF’s horizon, as far as we know, of a man who was already attracting attention in Philadelphia and, by his own account, in Whitehall as well. Thomas Drummond (1742–80), a Scot who laid claim to a Jacobite title and styled himself Lord Drummond, first went to America in 1768 to look after a kinsman’s estate, and remained until late in 1774. He conferred with some delegates to the first Continental Congress, and carried to the ministry their terms for a settlement. Lord North supposedly approved, and Drummond was now on his way back to America to sound out members of the second Congress. He landed in Boston in August, stopped in New York, and eventually reached Philadelphia. His negotiations in America reached their climax in February, 1776, and then abruptly collapsed. Sir James B. Paul, The Scots Peerage . . . (9 vols., Edinburgh, 1904–14), VII, 58; Herbert A. Meistrich, “Lord Drummond and Reconciliation,” N.J. Hist. Soc. Proc., LXXXI (1963), 256–77; William M. MacBean, Biographical Register of St. Andrews Society . . . (2 vols., N.Y., 1922), I, 124; George A. Morrison, History of St. Andrew’s Society (N.Y., 1906), pp. 73–6. Polly writes as though Drummond were too familiar to need introduction. He had been dealing with Whitehall at just the time that BF had been involved, through Barclay and Fothergill, in his own dealings; and it is tempting to believe, without a shred of evidence, that these parallel negotiations had brought the two men together.

6Polly’s letter below of Dec. 12 has a much fuller account of this settlement, which had to do with the legacy from her aunt; we discuss it there, along with Mr. Mure. The negotiator was doubtless BF’s banker friend, William Alexander.

7Catherine Blunt relapsed: by December she was in a “deep decline,” and she died before the year was out; see Polly’s letter just cited and above, IX, 327 n.

8Her “Son,” Benny Bache, and his brother William. For the family joke that Elizabeth Hewson was going to marry Benny see BF’s letter to Polly below, July 8, 1775.

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