Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Jane Mecom, 13 September 1783

To Jane Mecom

ALS: Massachusetts Historical Society

Passy, Sept. 13. 1783

Dear Sister,

I received your kind Letter of April 29. and am happy that the little Supplies I sent you, have contributed to make your Life more comfortable.5 I shall by this Opportunity order some more Money into the Hands of Cousin Williams, to be dispos’d of in assisting you as you may have Occasion.6

Your Project of taking a House for us to spend the Remainder of our Days in, is a pleasing one; but it is a Project of the Heart rather than of the Head. You forget, as I sometimes do, that we are grown old, and that before we can have furnish’d our House, & put things in order, we shall probably be call’d away from it, to a Home more lasting, and I hope more agreable than any this World can afford us.

Tell my Cousin Colas, that the Parson she recommended to me is gone to Rome, and it is reported has chang’d his Presbyterianism for the Catholic Religion.7 I hope he got something to boot, because that would be a sort of Proof that they allow’d our Religion to be, so much at least, better than theirs.— It would be pleasant, if a Boston Man should come to be Pope! Stranger Things have happened.—

Cousin Williams went back for Boston from London about the Beginning of June, so that probably he is with you before this time. He laid out, by my Desire, the Money he receiv’d for you, in Goods, which you will receive of him.8 When you have sold them, perhaps it may be adviseable to put the Money at Interest, that it may produce you a little Income.—

My two Grandsons are now both with me, and present their Duty. I am ever, my dear Sister, Your affectionate Brother

B Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5See XXXIX, 532–5.

6BF wrote a letter to Jonathan Williams, Sr., on Sept. 13 (now missing), enclosing a bill of exchange for 2,722 l.t. 16 s. 8 d., drawn on Samuel Cooper. This was reimbursement for what BF had spent on Samuel Cooper Johonnot’s education and travel expenses: Jonathan Williams, Sr., to BF, Dec. 20, 1783 (APS).

7Jane Mecom Collas had provided Boston minister John Thayer (XXXV, 127n) with a letter of recommendation to BF in June, 1781. Jane Mecom met him a few months later, just before he sailed for France, and gave him a letter for BF, as well: XXXV, 127–8, 642, 667; XXXVIII, 507. Thayer had been in Rome since at least the beginning of 1783 and converted to Catholicism in May: John Thayer, An Account of the Conversion of the Reverend Mr. John Thayer … on the 25th of May, 1783 … (London, 1787; 5th ed., Baltimore, 1788).

8Jonathan Williams, Sr., explained this to BF on May 14: XXXIX, 604.

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