Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1763: CCXXV: B. FRANKLIN'S SERVICES IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY - The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. III Letters and Misc. Writings 1753-1763
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1763: CCXXV: B. FRANKLIN’S SERVICES IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY - 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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B. FRANKLIN’S SERVICES IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
TO MRS. GREENE1
Philadelphia, 23 January, 1763.
I received with great pleasure my dear friend’s favor of December 20th, as it informed me that you and yours are all well. Mrs. Franklin admits of your apology for dropping the correspondence with her, and allows your reasons to be good; but hopes, when you have more leisure, it may be resumed. She joins with me in congratulating you upon your present happy situation. I thank you for your kind invitation. I purpose a journey into New England in the spring or summer coming. I shall not fail to pay my respects to you and Mr. Greene, when I come your way. Please to make my compliments acceptable to him. I have had a most agreeable time of it in Europe. I have in company with my son been in most parts of England, Scotland, Flanders and Holland; and generally have enjoyed a good share of health. If you had asked the rest of your questions, I could have more easily made this letter longer. Let me have them in your next. I think I am not much altered; at least my esteem and regard for my Katy (if I may still be permitted to call her so) is the same, and I believe will be unalterable, whilst I am, &c.,
P. S.—My best respects to your good brother and sister Ward. My daughter presents her compliments. My son is not yet arrived.
Philadelphia, 9 February, 1763.
It is now six years, since, in obedience to the order of the House, I undertook a voyage to England, to take care of their affairs there.
Fifteen hundred pounds of the publick money was at different times put into my hands, for which I ought to account, and I was instructed to keep accounts of the disbursements I sh [torn out] make in the publick service.
But I soon found such accounts were in many instances impracticable. For example, I took my son with me, partly to assist me as a clerk and otherways in the publick service, and partly to improve him by showing him the world. His services were considerable, but so intermixed with private services, as that I could not well attend to [sic]. I made journies, partly for the health, and partly that I might, by country visits to persons of influence, have more convenient opportunities of discoursing them on our publick affairs, the expense of which journeys was not easily proportion’d and separated. And being myself honour’d with visits from persons of quality and distinction, I was obliged for the credit of the province to live in a fashion and expense, suitable to the publick character I sustain’d, and much above what I should have done if I had been consider’d merely as a private person: and this difference of expense was not easy to distinguish, and charge in my accounts. The long sickness and frequent relapses I had the first and part of the second winter, occasioned by a change of climate, were many ways expensive to me, of which I could keep no acct. if indeed I ought to have charg’d the province with such expenses. The disbursement of the following sums I have however accounts and receipts to avouch, viz. [The rest wanting.]
TO WILLIAM STRAHAN
Philadelphia, 23 February, 1763.
I have only time to write one line by this conveyance, just to congratulate you on the glorious peace you have made, the most advantageous for the British nation, in my opinion, of any your annals have recorded. The places you have left or restor’d to the French, I look upon to be so much in our power in case of a future war, as to be so many hostages or pledges of their good behaviour.
Love to Mrs. Strahan and your children. Billy joins in every affectionate sentiment, with, dear friend,
CONGELATION OF QUICKSILVER—COLD PRODUCED BY EVAPORATION1
Perth Amboy, 26 February, 1763.
The most remarkable discovery that has been made within these three years is, that quicksilver is in reality a melted metal, with this character only, that of all others it requires the least heat to melt it. The Academy of Sciences at Petersburg have found that by dipping a mercurial thermometer into repeated cooling mixtures, and so taking from the mercury the heat that was in it, they have brought it down some hundred degrees (the exact number I cannot remember) below the freezing point, when the mercury became solid and would sink no longer, and then the glass being broke it came out in the form of a silver bullet adhering to a wire, which was the slender part that had been in the tube. Upon trial it was found malleable, and was hammered out to the bigness of a half-crown, but soon after, on receiving a small degree of warmth, it returned gradually to its fluid state again. This experiment was repeated by several members of that Academy two winters successively, and an authentic account of it transmitted to our Royal Society.
I suppose you have seen in the second volume of the new Philosophical Essays of the Edinburgh Society an account of some experiments to produce cold by evaporation, made by Dr. Cullen, who mentions the like having been before made at Petersburg. I think it is but lately that our European philosophers have known or acknowledged any thing of such a power in nature. But I find it has been long known in the east. Bernier, in the account of his travels in India, written above a hundred years since, mentions the custom of travellers carrying their water in flasks covered with wet wrappers, and hung to the pommels of their saddles, so as that the wind might act upon them, and so cool the water. I have also seen a kind of jar for cooling water, made of potter’s earth glazed, and so porous that the water gradually oozed through to the surface, supplying water just sufficient for a constant evaporation. I tried it, and found the water within much cooler in a few hours. This jar was brought from Egypt.
TO MISS MARY STEVENSON
Philadelphia, 25 March, 1763.
My Dear Polly:—
Your pleasing favor of November 11th is now before me. It found me, as you supposed it would, happy with my American friends and family about me; and it made me more happy in showing me, that I am not yet forgotten by the dear friends I left in England. And, indeed, why should I fear they will ever forget me, when I feel so strongly that I shall ever remember them?
I sympathize with you sincerely in your grief at the separation from your old friend, Miss Pitt. The reflection that she is going to be more happy, when she leaves you, might comfort you, if the case were likely to be so circumstanced; but, when the country and company she has been educated in, and those she is removing to, are compared, one cannot possibly expect it. I sympathize no less with you in your joys. But it is not merely on your account that I rejoice at the recovery of your dear Dolly’s1 health. I love that dear good girl myself, and I love her other friends. I am, therefore, made happy by what must contribute so much to the happiness of them all. Remember me to her, and to every one of that worthy and amiable family, most affectionately.
Remember me in the same manner to your and my good Dr. and Mrs. Hawkesworth. You have lately, you tell me, had the pleasure of spending three days with them at Mrs. Stanley’s. It was a sweet society. I, too, once partook of that same pleasure, and can therefore feel what you must have felt. Remember me also to Mr. and Mrs. Stanley, and to Miss Arlond.
Of all the enviable things England has, I envy it most its people. Why should that petty Island, which, compared to America, is but a stepping-stone in a brook, scarce enough of it above water to keep one’s shoes dry; why, I say, should that little Island enjoy, in almost every neighbourhood, more sensible, virtuous, and elegant minds, than we can collect in ranging a hundred leagues of our vast forests? But it is said the Arts delight to travel westward. You have effectually defended us in this glorious war, and in time you will improve us. After the first cares for the necessaries of life are over, we shall come to think of the embellishments. Already, some of our young geniuses begin to lisp attempts at painting, poetry, and music. We have a young painter now studying at Rome. Some specimens of our poetry I send you, which, if Dr. Hawkesworth’s fine taste cannot approve, his good heart will at least excuse. The manuscript piece is by a young friend of mine, and was occasioned by the loss of one of his friends, who lately made a voyage to Antigua to settle some affairs, previous to an intended marriage with an amiable young lady here, but unfortunately died there. I send it to you, because the author is a great admirer of Mr. Stanley’s musical compositions, and has adapted this piece to an air in the sixth Concerto of that gentleman, the sweetly solemn movement of which he is quite in raptures with. He has attempted to compose a recitativo for it, but, not being able to satisfy himself in the bass, wishes I could get it supplied. If Mr. Stanley would condescend to do that for him, he would esteem it as one of the highest honours, and it would make him excessively happy. You will say that a recitativo can be but a poor specimen of our music. It is the best and all I have at present, but you may see better hereafter.
I hope Mr. Ralph’s affairs are mended since you wrote. I know he had some expectations, when I came away, from a hand that would help him. He has merit, and one would think ought not to be so unfortunate.
I do not wonder at the behaviour you mention of Dr. S—— towards me, for I have long since known him thoroughly. I made that man my enemy by doing him too much kindness. It is the honestest way of acquiring an enemy. And, since it is convenient to have at least one enemy, who, by his readiness to revile one on all occasions, may make one careful of one’s conduct, I shall keep him an enemy for that purpose; and shall observe your good mother’s advice, never again to receive him as a friend. She once admired the benevolent spirit breathed in his sermons. She will now see the justness of the lines your laureate Whitehead addressed to his poets, and which I now address to her:
Nothing can please me more, than to see your philosophical improvements, when you have leisure to communicate them to me; I still owe you a long letter on that subject, which I shall pay. I am vexed with Mr. James, that he has been so dilatory in Mr. Madison’s Armonica. I was unlucky in both the workmen that I permitted to undertake making those instruments. The first was fanciful, and never could work to the purpose, because he was ever conceiving some new improvement, that answered no end. The other I doubt is absolutely idle. I have recommended a number to him from hence, but must stop my hand.
Adieu, my dear Polly, and believe me, as ever, with the sincerest esteem and regard, your truly affectionate friend and humble servant,
P. S.—My love to Mrs. Tickell and Mrs. Rooke, and to Pitty, when you write to her. Mrs. Franklin and Sally desire to be affectionately remembered to you. I find the printed poetry I intended to enclose will be too bulky to send. I shall send it by a ship that goes shortly from hence.
TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS1
Philadelphia, 13 April, 1763.
You may remember that about ten years since, when I was at Boston, you and my brother sent directions here to attach on Grant’s right to some land here by virtue of a mortgage given him by one Pitt. Nothing effectual could be done in it at that time, their being a prior mortgage undischarged. That prior mortgage is now near expiring, and Grant’s will take place. Pitt’s widow is desirous of being enabled to sell the place, which cannot be done without paying off Grant’s mortgage. Therefore, if your old demand against Grant still subsists, you may empower me in any manner you think proper to recover it.
Is Grant living? Or, if dead, are there any of his representatives among you? Inquire. Because here is a person desirous of purchasing, who perhaps may inquire them out and get a discharge from them before your claim is brought forward, unless the attachment formerly made in your behalf is still good, which I am inclined to think may be.
I am going in a few days to Virginia, but expect to be back in three or four weeks. However, send what you have to say on this subject to my son, at Burlington, who was formerly empowered by you, and he will take the steps necessary, if I should not be returned, I am your loving uncle,
TO WILLIAM STRAHAN
Philadelphia, June 2, 1763.
I have just received your favour of February 28th, being but lately returned home from Virginia. Dr. Kelley, in his letter, appears the same sensible, worthy, friendly man I ever found him, and Smith, as usual, just the reverse. I have done with him; for I believe nobody here will prevail with me to give him another meeting. I communicated your postscript to B. Mecom, and received the enclosed from him. I begin to fear things are going wrong with him. I shall be at New York in a few days, and will endeavour to secure you as far as it may be in his power, and will write you from thence. My love to good Mrs. Strahan and to your children. I hope to live to see George a bishop. Sally is now with her brother in the Jerseys. Mrs. Franklin joins with me in best wishes, &c. I am, dear Sir,
Your most obedient and most hum. servt.,
I fear my letter to you per Captain Friend never came to hand, as I hear he is taken. It was the ship I came over in, the Carolina. I wrote pretty fully to you and Mr. Stephenson, but kept no copies.
TO MISS MARY STEVENSON
Woodbridge, New Jersey, 10 June, 1763.
I wrote to my dear friend’s good mamma to-day, and said I should hardly have time to write to you; but finding a spare half hour I will indulge myself in the pleasure of spending it with you. I have just received your most agreeable epistle of March 11th. The ease, the smoothness, the purity of diction, and delicacy of sentiment that always appear in your letters never fail to delight me; but the tender filial regard you constantly express for your old friend is particularly engaging. Continue, then, to make him happy from time to time with that sweet intercourse, and take in return all he can give you, his sincerest wishes for you of every kind of felicity.
I hope that by the time this reaches you an account will arrive of your dear Pitty’s safe landing in America among her friends. Your Dolly, too, I hope, has perfectly recovered her health, and then nothing will remain to give you uneasiness or anxiety. Heaven bless you, and believe me ever, my dear child, your affectionate friend and humble servant,
TO WILLIAM STRAHAN
Woodbridge, New Jersey, 10 June, 1763.
I am here in my way to New England, where I expect to be till towards the end of summer. I have writ to you lately, and have nothing to add. ’T is against my conscience to put you to the charge of a shilling for a letter that has nothing in it to any purpose; but as I have wrote to some of your acquaintance by this opportunity, I was afraid you would not forgive me if I did not write also to you. This is what people get by not being always as good-natured as they should be. I am glad, however that you have this fault; for a man without faults is a hateful creature. He puts all his friends out of countenance; but I love you exceedingly. I am glad to hear that friend was dismissed and got safe with his ship to England, for I think I wrote you a long letter by him, and fear’d it was lost; tho’ I have forgot what was in it, and perhaps it was not very material; but now you have it. Tell me whether George is to be a Church or Presbyterian parson. I know you are a Presbyterian yourself; but then I think you have more sense than to stick him into a priesthood that admits of no promotion. If he was a dull lad it might not be amiss, but George has parts, and ought to aim at a mitre. God bless you, and farewell. If I write much more I must use a cover, which will double the postage. So I prudently cut short (thank me for it) with, Dear Straney,
Your affectionate friend and hum. servant,
TO MRS DEBORAH FRANKLIN
New York, 16 June, 1763.
My Dear Child:—
We left Woodbridge on Tuesday morning and went to Elizabethtown, where I found our children returned from the Falls, and very well. The Corporation were to have a dinner that day at the Point for their entertainment, and prevailed on us to stay. There were all the principal people, and a great many ladies. After dinner we set out, and got here before dark. We waited on the governor and on General Amherst yesterday, dined with Lord Stirling, went in the evening to my old friend Mr. Kennedy’s funeral, and are to dine with the general to-day. Mr. Hughes and daughter are well, and Betsy Holt. I have not yet seen B. Mecom, but shall to-day. I am very well.
I purpose to take Sally, at all events, and write for her to-day to be ready to go in the packet that sails next Friday week. If there is no other suitable company, Mr. Parker will go with her and take care of her. I am glad you sent some wax candles with the things to Boston. I am now so used to them that I cannot do well without them. You spent your Sunday very well, but I think you should go oftener to church. I approve of your opening all my English letters, as it must give you pleasure to see that people who knew me there so long and so intimately retain so sincere regard for me.
My love to Mr. Rhoads when you see him, and desire he would send me an invoice of such locks, hinges, and the like, as cannot be had at Philadelphia, and will be necessary for my house, that I may send for them. Let me know from time to time how it goes on. Mr. Foxcroft and Mr. Parker join in compliments to you and cousin Lizzy. Mr. F.—— prays his mamma to forgive him, and he will be a better boy. I am, my dear Debby, your affectionate husband,
end of volume iii.
[1 ]Formerly Miss Catharine Ray, at the date married to Mr. Wm. Greene, who was afterwards Governor of Rhode Island.
[1 ]This is a fragment of a letter in the handwriting of Franklin, but it is not known to whom it was written.
[1 ]Miss Dorothea Blount
[1 ]Johathan Williams married Grace Harris, a niece of Dr. Franklin’s, and was the father of Jonathan Williams, who acted as a commercial agent for the United States in France during a large part of the Revolution, and whose name often occurs in the course of this correspondence. The son, after filling important stations as a colonel of engineers and superintendent of the Military Academy at West Point, died May 20, 1815.