Front Page Titles (by Subject) CCXXX: TO MISS MARY STEVENSON - The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. III Letters and Misc. Writings 1753-1763
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CCXXX: TO MISS MARY STEVENSON - 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 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.
[1 ]Miss Dorothea Blount