Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Georgiana Shipley, 1 March 1781

From Georgiana Shipley

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Bolton Street March the 1st 1781

As we removed to town particularly late this year, I had not the happiness of receiving my dear Dr Franklin’s letter3 till last week when I had the pleasure of seeing your good friend Mr Alexander4 & hearing from him a very satisfactory account of every thing which concerns you. Your dear letter is likewise written in better spirits, than any one I have received for several years. Yet when you mention a peace as not far distant, I much apprehend even you think better of the wisdom of our Ministry than they deserve.

I am sure it will give you pleasure to be inform’d that all this family are remarkably well, I think I never knew my father better, exclusive of a slight cold he caught on first coming to town. They spent the whole summer at Twyford, a retirement endeared to us by the recollection of the happy hours we have formerly enjoyed there in your much valued society. I went into Yorkshire with Sir Wm & Lady Milner5 from thence I wrote to you, but I have learn’d lately from Mr Jones that he found no opportunity of conveying my letter, this intelligence gave me some little concern, as I am willing to flatter myself you continue to have the goodness to be interested for your friends & receive pleasure from their letters.

I shall certainly make enquiries after an English Translation of Anacreon altho: I much fear we have none worth perusal, indeed it rarely that the entire works of any Poet are well translated.6 The specimens you send me appear light & easy but I am no further judge of their excellence.

While I remain in town, I hope to have more frequent opportunities of writing, but I can not conclude this letter without giving you repeated assurances of the affection & esteem of this family & beging you to believe me, with the greatest respect & sincerity Your much obliged & affecate Friend.

G: S:

I send the shades you requested, they are at best very imperfect reprisentations.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Probably the incomplete one that we have dated [after Feb. 3], above. In it BF requested some silhouettes (“profiles”) of the Shipley family, which she here says she is sending.

4William Alexander.

5Sir William Mordaunt Milner (1754–1811), 3rd Baronet, of Nun Appleton Hall, Yorkshire, and his wife Diana Sturt Milner (d. 1805): Lewis, Walpole Correspondence, XI, 141; XLVI, 1745.

6Anacreon, a sixth-century B.C. Greek lyric poet, wrote witty, light, often epigrammatic verse on such subjects as love and wine. Little is known of his life, and only short fragments of his verses survive: Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth, eds., The Oxford Classical Dictionary, (3rd ed., Oxford and New York, 1996). Mme Brillon places BF among Anacreon’s followers in his pursuit of carnal love: [on or after Feb. 23], above. Georgiana must have enlisted William Jones’s help in finding a translation, as he wrote BF on March 5, 1782, that he had located one in verse, “under the name of Addison” (APS). This would be John Addison, The Works of Anacreon translated into English verse, with notes … ([London,] 1735).

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