Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Mary Ann Davies, 17 October 1783

From Mary Ann Davies

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Florence Octbr the 17th. 1783.

Dear Sir.

I took the liberty of writing You a Letter last April2 to enquire after your Health. At the same time (not doubting the continuation of your friendship) I made so free as to trouble You with some account of my present Situation, entreating your Advice, but I am so unfortunate as never to have had any Answer. I have been and am still in the greatest Anxiety imaginable on this account and can only conclude that either the said Letter or your Answer must have miscarried: for surely had You received it, you would have favour’d me with a Line before now. I am doubly unhappy about this affair, between the disapointment of not hearing from You, and the fear of my Letter having fallen into other Hands. If You receive this as I hope you will, I beg most earnestly you will not retard writing that I may know as soon as possible if my former Letter went safe: and You will oblige me much by informing me if I have directed this quite right. I have thought of a method by which it appears to me I cannot fail receiving Yours, which is, if you will be so obliging to enclose your Letter (Seal’d and Directed for me) in a Blank Cover with the underwritten Direction on it. Excuse Dear Sir my being so troublesome and believe me to be with the greatest Gratitude and Respect Your most oblig’d & most humble Servant

Mary Ann Davies

A Monsieur
Monsieur Filippo

PSMy Sister does not know of this Letter no more than of that I troubled You with last April for the Reason I explain’d in the said Letter: therefore I must beg you will not mention to any one in Paris having heard from me.3

Addressed: A Son Excellence / Monsieur Benjamin Franklin / Ministre Plénipotentiaire des / Etats-unis de l’Amérique / Septentrionale prés S.M.T.Ch. / A Paris. / per la Francia

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2XXXIX, 504–9.

3We know that BF intended to answer this (see his list of letters to write, printed under [c. Jan. 1, 1784?]), though no response has been found. Mary Ann and her sister Cecilia were still at Florence in 1784 or early 1785, when the English community there sponsored a private concert at which they performed. They seem to have been back in London by the middle of 1785, and despite favorable reviews they continued to struggle to support themselves and died in obscurity: [Richard Edgcumbe, Earl of Mount Edgcumbe], Musical Reminiscences of an Old Amateur, for Fifty Years, from 1773 to 1823 (London, 1824), pp. 17–18, 41–54; [London] Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser, July 2, 1785; ODNB, under Mary Ann Davies.

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