Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Mary Hewson, 8 July 1775

To Mary Hewson

ALS: Yale University Library

Philada. July 8. 1775

My dear Friend

I thank you for your kind Letter of April 11th. It grieves me that the present Situation of publick Affairs, makes it not eligible for you to come hither with your Family, because I am sure you would otherwise like this Country, and might provide better here for your Children, at the same time that I should be made more happy by your Neighbourhood and Company. I flatter myself that this may yet happen, and that our public Disputes may be ended by the time your private Business is settled to your Mind, and then we may be all happy together.3

The Debt you mention of mine to Bolton remain’d unpaid thro’ his own Neglect. I was charg’d by Mathews £10 for the Tea Kitchen;4 but Bolton told me I ought not to pay so much; that he would see what it should be when he got home, and send me word, which he never did. I dunn’d him for it by Letters, as often as Mathews sent to me, but receiv’d no Answer.

I take it kindly of my Godson, that he should remember me; my Love to him. I am glad to hear the dear Children are all well through the Measles. I have much Delight in my Grandsons. Mr. and Mrs. Bache join in Love to you and yours. Ben, when I delivered him your Blessing, enquired the Age of Elizabeth, and thought her yet too young for him; but as he made no other Objection, and that will lessen every day, I have only to wish being alive to dance with your Mother at the Wedding.5

Temple was much oblig’d by your kind Remembrance of him. He is now very happy with his Father at Amboy near Newyork, but returns to me in September, to prosecute his Studies in our College.6

I am much pleas’d with the Contribution Letter, and thank you for your Share in it.7 I am still well and hearty, and never went thro’ more Business than I do at present. God knows when I shall be permitted to enjoy the Repose I wish. Adieu my very dear Friend. Continue your pleasing Correspondence; and believe me ever Yours most Affectionately

B Franklin

Mrs. Hewson

Notation: Phil July 9, 75

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3In her missing letter of April 11 Polly must have discussed her dream—which came true eleven years later—of emigrating with her family to America. The private business that detained her, which had to do with her legacy, is discussed in her letter below of Dec. 12.

4A large tea kettle or urn, probably the one that BF had sent WF in March, 1773: above, XX, 90. William Matthews, a London watch-maker, was Boulton’s chief agent in the city, charged with soliciting orders, showing designs and samples, dealing with craftsmen who made parts, and collecting bills: Nicholas Goodison, Ormolu: the Work of Matthew Boulton ([London, 1974]), pp. 86–7. For Boulton, whom BF had known for years, see above, X, 39, and subsequent vols.

5BF’s godson was William Hewson, Polly’s eldest. Elizabeth, her youngest, was approaching her first birthday and Benjamin Franklin Bache his sixth.

6See BF to WTF above, June 13.

7For the gifts from the Constitutional Society to relieve impoverished Bostonians see Lee to BF above, April 3. Polly, in her missing April letter, doubtless referred to the donation voted on March 21, and enclosed a copy of the request for contributions. She might, from BF’s phrasing, have had a share in composing it; but he probably means that she had contributed.

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