Front Page Titles (by Subject) CLXXV: TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN - The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. III Letters and Misc. Writings 1753-1763
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CLXXV: 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, 6 September, 1758.
My Dear Child:—
In mine of June 10th, by the Mercury, Captain Robinson, I mentioned our having been at Cambridge. We stayed there a week, being entertained with great kindness by the principal people, and shown all the curiosities of the place; and returning by another road to see more of the country, we came again to London. I found the journey advantageous to my health, increasing both my health and spirits, and therefore, as all the great folks were out of town, and public business at a stand, I the more easily prevailed with myself to take another journey, and accept of the invitation we had, to be again at Cambridge at the Commencement, the beginning of July. We went accordingly, were present at all the ceremonies, dined every day in their halls, and my vanity was not a little gratified by the particular regard shown me by the chancellor and vice-chancellor of the University and the heads of colleges.
After the Commencement we went from Cambridge through Huntingdonshire into Northumberlandshire, and at Wellingborough, on inquiry, we found still living Mary Fisher, whose maiden name was Franklin, daughter and only child of Thomas Franklin, my father’s eldest brother. She is five years older than sister Dowse, and remembers her going away with my father and his then wife and two other children to New England, about the year 1685. We have had no correspondence with her since my uncle Benjamin’s death, now near thirty years. I knew she had lived at Wellingborough, and had married there to one Mr. Richard Fisher, a grazier and tanner, about fifty years ago, but did not expect to see either of them alive, so inquired for their posterity. I was directed to their house, and we found them both alive, but weak with age, very glad however to see us. She seems to have been a very smart, sensible woman. They are wealthy, have left off business, and live comfortably. They have had only one child, a daughter, who died when about thirty years of age, unmarried. She gave me several of my uncle Benjamin’s letters to her, and acquainted me where the other remains of the family lived, of which I have, since my return to London, found out a daughter of my father’s only sister, very old, and never married. She is a good, clever woman, but poor, though vastly contented with her situation, and very cheerful. The others are in different parts of the country. I intend to visit them, but they were too much out of our tour in that journey.
From Wellingborough we went to Ecton, about three or four miles, being the village where my father was born, and where his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had lived, and how many of the family before them we know not. We went first to see the old house and grounds; they came to Mr. Fisher with his wife, and after letting them for some years, finding his rent something ill paid, he sold them. The land is now added to another farm, and a school kept in the house. It is a decayed old stone building, but still known by the name of Franklin House. Thence we went to visit the rector of the parish, who lives close by the church, a very ancient building. He entertained us very kindly, and showed us the old church register, in which were the births, marriages, and burials of our ancestors for two hundred years, as early as his book began, His wife, a good-natured, chatty old lady (granddaughter of the famous Archdeacon Palmer, who formerly had that parish, and lived there), remembered a great deal about the family; carried us out into the churchyard, and showed us several of their gravestones, which were so covered with moss that we could not read the letters, till she ordered a hard brush and basin of water, with which Peter scoured them clean, and then Billy copied them. She entertained and diverted us highly with stories of Thomas Franklin, Mrs. Fisher’s father, who was a conveyancer, something of a lawyer, clerk of the county courts, and clerk to the Archdeacon in his visitations; a very leading man in all county affairs, and much employed in public business. He set on foot a subscription for erecting chimes in their steeple, and completed it, and we heard them play. He found out an easy method of saving their village meadows from being drowned, as they used to be sometimes by the river, which method is still in being; but, when first proposed, nobody could conceive how it could be; “but, however,” they said, “if Franklin says he knows how to do it, it will be done.” His advice and opinion were sought for on all occasions by all sorts of people, and he was looked upon, she said, by some as something of a conjurer. He died just four years before I was born, on the same day of the same month.
Since our return to London, I have had a kind letter from cousin Fisher, and another from the rector, which I send you.
From Ecton we went to Northampton, where we stayed part of the day; then went to Coventry, and from thence to Birmingham. Here, upon inquiry, we soon found out yours, and cousin Wilkinson’s, and cousin Cash’s relations. First, we found out one of the Cashes, and he went with us to Rebecca Flint’s, where we saw her and her husband. She is a turner and he a buttonmaker; they have no children; were very glad to see any person that knew their sister Wilkinson; told us what letters they had received, and showed us some of them; and even showed us that they had, out of respect, preserved a keg, in which they had received a present of some sturgeon. They sent for their brother, Joshua North, who came with his wife immediately to see us; he is a turner also, and has six children; a lively, active man. Mrs. Flint desired me to tell her sister, that they live still in the old house she left them in, which I think she says was their father’s. From thence Mr. North went with us to your cousin Benjamin’s.1
[1 ]The remainder of the letter is missing.