Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Mary Hewson, 12 January 1777

To Mary Hewson

ALS: Yale University Library

Paris, Jan. 12. 1777.

My dear dear Polley

Figure to yourself an old Man with grey Hair appearing under a Martin Fur Cap, among the Powder’d Heads of Paris.1It is this odd Figure that salutes you; with Handfuls of Blessings on you and your dear little ones.

On my Arrival here, Mlle. Biheron gave me great Pleasure in the Perusal of a Letter from you to her.2It acquainted me that you and yours were well in August last. I have with me here my young Grandson Benja Franklin Bache, a special good Boy. I give him a little French Language and Address, and then send him over to pay his Respects to Miss Hewson.3

My Love to all that love you, particularly to dear Dolly.4I am ever, my dear Friend, Your affectionate

B F.

Temple who attends me here presents his Respects. I must contrive to get you to America. I want all my Friends out of that wicked Country. I have just read in s[ome?] Newspapers 7 Paragraphs about me, of which 6 were Lies.

1This is the first appearance of BF’s famous cap. He had brought it back from his journey to Canada months before, and wore it often during his first winter in Paris instead of the conventional wig; the public identified it with him, and it acquired symbolic status. See Charles C. Sellers, Benjamin Franklin in Portraiture (New Haven and London, 1962), pp. 96–9. In late January, nevertheless, BF spent just over 100 l.t. for wigs: Waste Book, entry of Feb. 8.

2Marie-Catherine Biheron was an old acquaintance of the Hewsons as well as of BF: above, XXI, 331–2.

3The old dream that Benny would marry Elizabeth.

4See BF’s inquiries about Dorothea Blunt in his letter below, Jan. 26.

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