Front Page Titles (by Subject) CLXXII: TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN - The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. III Letters and Misc. Writings 1753-1763
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CLXXII: 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, 10 June, 1758.
My Dear Child:—
I was down at Cambridge with Billy when Snead sailed, so I did not write again by him as I intended. His sailing so soon was unexpected to me. I am somewhat out of the way of vessels, and Mr. Partridge, by mistake, wrote me Snead was not to sail that week; so, being very kindly entertained there in the colleges, we did not hurry so soon home as we might have done. However, this vessel perhaps may be there about the same time.
I think nobody ever had more faithful correspondents than I have in Mr. Hughes and you. It is impossible for me to get or keep out of your debts. I received the bill of exchange you got of Mr. Nelson, and it is paid. I received also the Proprietary’s account. It gives me concern to receive such frequent accounts of your being indisposed; but we both of us grow in years, and must expect our constitutions, though tolerably good in themselves, will by degrees give way to the infirmities of age.
I have sent, in a trunk of the Library Company’s, some of the best writing paper for letters, and best quills and wax, all for Mrs. Moore, which I beg she would accept; having received such civilities here from her sister and brother Scott as are not in my power to return. I shall send some to Sally by the next opportunity. By Captain Lutwidge I sent my dear girl a newest fashioned white hat and cloak, and sundry little things, which I hope will get safe to hand. I now send her a pair of buckles, made of French paste stones, which are next in lustre to diamonds. They cost three guineas, and are said to be cheap at that price. I fancy I see more likeness in her picture than I did at first, and I look at it often with pleasure, as at least it reminds me of her. Yours is at the painter’s, who is to copy it and do me of the same size; but, as to family pieces, it is said they never look well, and are quite out of fashion, and I find the limner very unwilling to undertake any thing of the kind. However, when Franky’s comes, and that of Sally by young Hesselius, I shall see what can be done. I wonder how you came by Ben Lay’s picture.
You are very prudent not to engage in party disputes. Women never should meddle with them, except in endeavours to reconcile their husbands, brothers, and friends, who happen to be of contrary sides. If your sex keep cool, you may be a means of cooling ours the sooner, and restoring more speedily that social harmony among fellow-citizens that is so desirable after long and bitter dissensions.
Cousin Dunlap1 has wrote me an account of his purchasing Chattin’s printing-house. I wish it may be advantageous to him without injuring Mr. Hall. I can however do nothing to encourage him, as a printer in Philadelphia, inconsistent with my pre-engagement to so faithful a partner. And I trust you will take care not to do any thing in that way that may draw reflections on me; as if I did underhand, through your means, what I would not care to appear in openly. I hope he will keep a good understanding with Mr. Hall, and I am pleased to hear that he asked his advice and friendship; but I have thought it right and necessary to forbid the use of my letters by Mr. Dunlap without Mr. Hall’s consent. The post-office, if it is agreeable to you, may be removed to Mr. Dunlap’s house, it being proposed by our good friend Mr. Hughes.
I wrote to you lately to speak to Ambruster2 not to make use of my name any more in his newspaper, as I have no particular concern in it, but as one of the trustees only. I have no prospect of returning until next spring, so you will not expect me. But pray remember to make me as happy as you can, by sending some pippins for myself and friends, some of your small hams, and some cranberries.
Billy is of the Middle Temple, and will be called to the bar either this term or the next. I write this in answer to your particular inquiry. I am glad you like the cloak I sent you. The black silk was sent by our friend Mr. Collinson. I never saw it. Your answer to Mr. Strahan was just what it should be. I was much pleased with it. He fancied his rhetoric and art would certainly bring you over.
I have ordered two large print Common Prayer Books to be bound, on purpose for you and Goody Smith; and, that the largeness of the print may not make them too bulky, the christenings, matrimonies, and every thing else that you and she have not immediate and constant occasion for, are to be omitted. So you will both of you be reprieved from the use of spectacles in church a little longer.
If the ringing of the bells frightens you, tie a piece of wire from one bell to the other, and that will conduct the lightning without ringing or snapping, but silently; though I think it best the bells should be at liberty to ring, that you may know when they are electrified; and when you are afraid you may keep at a distance.1 I wrote last winter to Josey Crocker to come over hither and stay a year, and work in some of the best shops for improvement in his business, and therefore did not send the tools; but if he is about to be married I would not advise him to come. I shall send the tools immediately. You have disposed of the apple-trees very properly. I condole with you on the loss of your walnuts.
I see the governor’s treatment of his wife makes all the ladies angry. If it is on account of the bad example, that will soon be removed; for the Proprietors are privately looking out for another; being determined to discard him, and the place goes a begging. One, to whom it was offered, sent a friend to make some inquiries of me. The Proprietors told him they had there a city-house and a country-house, which he might use rent free; that every thing was so cheap he might live on five hundred pounds sterling a year, keep a genteel table, a coach, &c., and his income would be at least nine hundred pounds. If it fell short of that, the Proprietors would engage to make it up. For the truth of his being able to live genteelly and keep a coach for five hundred pounds a year, the Proprietors referred him to Mr. Hamilton, who, it seems, told him the same story; but, on inquiry of Mr. Morris, he had quite a different account, and knew not which to believe. The gentleman is one Mr. Graves, a lawyer of the Temple. He hesitated a good while, and I am now told has declined accepting it. I wish that may not be true, for he has the character of being a very good sort of man; though while the instructions continue, it matters little who is our governor. It was to have been kept a secret from me, that the Proprietors were looking out for a new one; because they would not have Mr. Denny know any thing about it, till the appointment was actually made, and the gentleman ready to embark. So you may make a secret of it too, if you please, and oblige all your friends with it.1
I need not tell you to assist godmother in her difficulties; for I know you will think it as agreeable to me as it is to your own good disposition. I could not find the bit of thread you mention to have sent me, of your own spinning. Perhaps it was too fine to be seen. I am glad little Franky begins to talk. It will divert you to have him often with you.
I think I have now gone through your letters, which always give me great pleasure to receive and read, since I cannot be with you in person. Distribute my compliments, respects, and love among my friends, and believe me ever, my dear Debby, your affectionate husband,
P. S.—Mrs. Stevenson and her daughter desire me to present their compliments and offer their services to you and Sally. I think of going into the country soon, and shall be pretty much out this summer, in different parts of England. I depend chiefly on these journeys for the establishment of my health.
[1 ]William Dunlap, an Irish printer married to a relative of his wife.
[2 ]Anthony Ambruster, a German by birth, who printed German books in Philadelphia, and for some time published a newspaper there in the German language.
[1 ]In the year 1753, he had erected an iron rod for the purpose of drawing lightning from the clouds into his house. He also placed two bells in such position that they would ring when the rod was electrified. See description of this contrivance in vol. ii., in a letter to Peter Collinson, dated September, 1753.
[1 ]The Proprietors were dissatisfied with Governor Denny, and resolved to remove him. The negotiation with Mr. Graves having failed, the post was next offered to James Hamilton, a native of Philadelphia, who had been governor a few years before, and who was at this time in London. He took an independent ground with the Proprietors, and seems to have had some difficulty in arranging certain points to their mutual satisfaction, especially in what related to the long-disputed question as to taxing the proprietary estates. This is evident from the following extract from a letter, which he wrote in London to Thomas Penn, one of the Proprietors, August 21, 1759, while the negotiation was pending.