Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Sarah Bache, 29 November 1781

From Sarah Bache

ALS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Nov: 29. 1781

Dear and Honoured Sir

I have lately heard you were well, but do not often hear from you,2 many letters I beleive are taken, one of Benny’s to you, dated March last,3 was sent me out of New York by my Brother, who was well two weeks ago he tells me Sr Harry Clinton sent it to him suposing it to be from his son, but says your letter in which it was inclosed was lost—4 You have heard so much of the late Glorious news from all quarters, that I need not repeat it, only congratulate you on an event that I think must procure us a happy peace, I am this Morning going to make my Compliments to Mrs Washington who is come with the General, poor Lady since the capture of Cornwallice she has lost her only son who has left five Children, indeed he was her only Child—5 I spoke to Mr Powel last spring which was the time your letter arrived which mentioned the Grafts of the Apple tree,6 he told me november was the best month to send them in, and he had try’d both spring and fall, and found those sent in the spring did not come to perfection, I then spoke to Mr Bartram7 who has put some up in a small Box, and more shall be sent you by next opportunity.

Willy, Betsy, Luly Boy and Sister Deby De join in duty the last two names are of Louis’s making, they have just been striping the French Baby and dipping her in a tub of cold water—8

With this you will receive a letter from Mr Hopkinson,9 who complains about the ink, because I would not give him a quart of ink to sprinkle the Parlour with, his patience is less than the paper for he will not wait till I can get him more— I am as ever your Dutifull and Afectionate Daughter

S Bache

Addressed: Doctor Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2The latest letter she or her husband had received was dated May 14: RB to BF, Nov. 24, above.

3Probably that of March 26: XXXIV, 486–7.

4Disgusted at Cornwallis’ surrender and his betrayal of the Loyalist soldiers serving under him, WF wished to leave New York for London but was dissuaded by Clinton: Sheila L. Skemp, William Franklin: Son of a Patriot, Servant of a King (New York and Oxford, 1990), pp. 253–4.

5John Parke Custis (1754–1781), who had served as a civilian aide at Yorktown for his stepfather, died of “camp fever” in early November: Idzerda, Lafayette Papers, IV, 435–6; Freeman, Washington, V, 401–2n.

6For BF’s request for Newton pippin grafts see XXXII, 609. Probably Powel is former Philadelphia mayor Samuel Powel, whom SB knew: XII, 203n; XXVIII, 391; L. H. Butterfield, ed., Letters of Benjamin Rush (2 vols., Princeton, 1951), II, 682n.

7Most likely John Bartram, Jr. (XXXII, 55n), the owner of the nursery. A second possibility is his brother William (V, 3n), who at the time was living and working at the nursery. The editors thank Deborah Olsen of Bartram Gardens for her help.

8The Bache children still at home were William, now age eight, Elizabeth (four), Louis (two), and Deborah (almost two months): I, lxiii–lxiv. The French baby was a doll BF had sent to Elizabeth: XXXV, 184, 609–10.

9Below, Nov. 30.

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