Front Page Titles (by Subject) CLXX: TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN - The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. III Letters and Misc. Writings 1753-1763
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CLXX: TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN - Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. III Letters and Misc. Writings 1753-1763 
The Works of Benjamin Franklin, including the Private as well as the Official and Scientific Correspondence, together with the Unmutilated and Correct Version of the Autobiography, compiled and edited by John Bigelow (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). The Federal Edition in 12 volumes. Vol. III (Letters and Misc. Writings 1753-1763).
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TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN
London, 19 February, 1758.
My Dear Child:—
I have wrote you several long letters lately; the last was by Mr. Ralph, and at the same time I wrote to my dear Sally. Last night I received yours of the 1st and 6th of January, which gave me the great pleasure of hearing that you and my little family were well. I hope you continue so, and that I shall have the happiness to find you so. The letter you mention to have sent me by Captain Robinson is not come to hand; but that by Mr. Hunt I received and answered.
I regret the loss of my friend Parsons. Death begins to make breaches in the little junto of old friends that he had long forborne, and it must be expected he will now soon pick us all off one after another.
Your kind advice about getting a chariot, I had taken some time before; for I found that every time I walked out I got a fresh cold; and the hackney coaches at this end of the town, where most people keep their own, are the worst in the whole city, miserable, dirty, broken, shabby things, unfit to go into when dressed clean, and such as one would be ashamed to get out of at any gentleman’s door. As to burning wood, it would answer no end, unless one would furnish all one’s neighbours and the whole city with the same. The whole town is one great smoky house, and every street a chimney, the air full of floating seacoal soot, and you never get a sweet breath of what is pure, without riding some miles for it into the country.
I am sorry to hear that a storm has damaged a house of my good friend Mr. Bartram. Acquaint him that I have received the seeds, and shall write to him shortly. I hope the Speaker is recovered of the illness you mention.
Give my thanks to Dr. Bond for the care he takes of you. I have wrote to him by this vessel. Mr. Hunter and Polly talk of returning this spring. He is wonderfully recruited. They both desire to be remembered to you. She received your letter and answered it. Her answer I enclosed in one of mine to you. Her daughter Rachel, who plays on the harpsichord and sings prettily, sends Sally one of her songs that I fancied.
I send you by Captain Budden a large case and a small box. In the large case is another small box, containing some English china, viz.: melons and leaves for a desert of fruit and cream, or the like; a bowl remarkable for the neatness of the figures, made at Bow, near this city; some coffee cups of the same; a Worcester bowl, ordinary. To show the difference of workmanship, there is something from all the china works in England; and one old true china basin mended, of an odd color. The same box contains four silver salt ladles, newest, but ugliest, fashion; a little instrument to core apples; another to make little turnips out of great ones; six coarse diaper breakfast cloths; they are to spread on the tea table, for nobody breakfasts here on the naked table, but on the cloth they set a large tea board with the cups. There is also a little basket, a present from Mrs. Stevenson to Sally, and a pair of garters for you, which were knit by the young lady, her daughter, who favored me with a pair of the same kind, the only ones I have been able to wear, as they need not be bound tight, the ridges in them preventing their slipping. We send them therefore as a curiosity for the form, more than for the value. Goody Smith may, if she pleases, make such for me hereafter. My love to her.
In the great case, besides the little box, is contained some carpeting for a best room floor. There is enough for one large or two small ones; it is to be sewed together, the edges being first felled down, and care taken to make the figures meet exactly; there is bordering for the same. This was my fancy. Also two large fine Flanders bedticks, and two pair of large superfine blankets, two fine damask tablecloths and napkins, and forty-three ells of Ghentish sheeting Holland. These you ordered. There are also fifty-six yards of cotton, printed curiously from copper plates, a new invention, to make bed and window curtains; and seven yards of chair bottoms, printed in the same way, very neat. These were my fancy; but Mrs. Stevenson tells me I did wrong not to buy both of the same color. Also seven yards of printed cotton, blue ground, to make you a gown. I bought it by candlelight, and liked it then, but not so well afterwards. If you do not fancy it, send it as a present from me to sister Jenny. There is a better gown for you, of flowered tissue, sixteen yards, of Mrs. Stevenson’s fancy, cost nine guineas; and I think it a great beauty. There was no more of the sort, or you should have had enough for a negligée or suit.
There are also snuffers, a snuffstand, and extinguisher, of steel, which I send for the beauty of the work. The extinguisher is for spermaceti candles only, and is of a new contrivance, to preserve the snuff upon the candle. There is some music Billy bought for his sister, and some pamphlets for the Speaker and for Susy Wright. A mahogany and a little shagreen box, with microscopes and other optical instruments loose, are for Mr. Alison, if he likes them; if not, put them in my room till I return. I send the invoice of them, and I wrote to him formerly the reason of my exceeding his orders. There are also two sets of books, a present from me to Sally, The World and The Connoisseur. My love to her.
I forgot to mention another of my fancyings, viz., a pair of silk blankets, very fine. They are of a new kind, were just taken in a French prize, and such were never seen in England before. They are called blankets, but I think they will be very neat to cover a summer bed, instead of a quilt or counterpane. I had no choice, so you will excuse the soil on some of the folds; your neighbour Foster can get it off. I also forgot, among the china, to mention a large fine jug for beer, to stand in the cooler. I fell in love with it at first sight; for I thought it looked like a fat jolly dame clean and tidy, with a neat blue and white calico gown on, good natured and lovely, and put me in mind of—somebody. It has the coffee cups in it, packed in best crystal salt, of a peculiar nice flavor, for the table, not to be powdered.
I hope Sally applies herself closely to her French and music, and that I shall find she has made great proficiency. The harpischord I was about, and which was to have cost me forty guineas, Mr. Stanley advises me not to buy; and we are looking out for another, one that has been some time in use, and is a tried good one, there being not so much dependence on a new one, though made by the best hands. Sally’s last letter to her brother is the best wrote that of late I have seen of hers. I only wish she was a little more careful of her spelling. I hope she continues to love going to church, and would have her read over and over again The Whole Duty of Man, and The Lady’s Library.
Look at the figures on the china bowl and coffee cups, with your spectacles on; they will bear examining.
I have made your compliments to Mrs. Stevenson. She is indeed very obliging, takes great care of my health, and is very diligent when I am any way indisposed; but yet I have a thousand times wished you with me, and my little Sally with her ready hands and feet to do, and go, and come, and get what I wanted. There is a great difference in sickness between being nursed with that tender attention which proceeds from sincere love, and ——1
[1 ]The remainder of the letter is lost.