Front Page Titles (by Subject) CCCCXIX: TO MRS. MARY HEWSON - The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. V Letters and Misc. Writings 1768-1772
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CCCCXIX: TO MRS. MARY HEWSON - Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. V Letters and Misc. Writings 1768-1772 
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. V (Letters and Misc. Writings 1768-1772).
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TO MRS. MARY HEWSON
Preston, 25 November, 1771.
I came to this place on Saturday night, right well, and untired with a seventy miles’ journey. That day I met with your and my Dolly’s joint letter, which would have refreshed me with its kindness, if I had been ever so weary.
The account you give of a certain lady’s having entertained a new gallant, in my absence, did not surprise me; for I have been used to rivals, and scarce ever had a friend or a mistress in my whole life, that other people did not like as well as myself. And, therefore, I did not wonder, when I read in the newspapers some weeks since, that “the Duke of C.” (that general lover) “had made many visits of late to an old lady not many miles from Craven Street.” I only wondered, considering the dislike she used to have for the family, that she would receive his visits. But as I saw, soon after, that Prince Charles had left Rome, and was gone a long journey, nobody knew whither, I made no doubt but the newswriters had mistaken the person, and that it was he who had taken the opportunity of my absence to solace himself with his old friend.
I thank you for your intelligence about my godson. I believe you are sincere when you say you think him as fine a child as you wish to see. He had cut two teeth, and three, in another letter, make five; for I know you never write tautologies. If I have over-reckoned, the number will be right by this time. His being like me in so many particulars pleases me prodigiously; and I am persuaded there is another, which you have omitted, though it must have occurred to you while you were putting them down. Pray let him have every thing he likes. I think it of great consequence while the features of the countenance are forming; it gives them a pleasant air, and, that being once become natural and fixed by habit, the face is ever after the handsomer for it, and on that much of a person’s good fortune and success in life may depend. Had I been crossed as much in my infant likings and inclinations as you know I have been of late years, I should have been, I was going to say, not near so handsome, but as the vanity of that expression would offend other folks’ vanity, I change it out of regard to them and say a great deal more homely.
I rejoice that your good mother’s new regimen succeeds so well with her. We are to set out, my son and I, to-morrow for London, where I hope to be by the end of the week, and to find her and you and all yours well and happy. My love to them all. They tell me dinner is coming in, and I have yet said nothing to Dolly; but must nevertheless conclude, my dear friend. Yours ever most affectionately,
TO MRS. JANE MECOM
London, 13 January, 1772.
My Dear Sister:—
I received your kind letters of September 12th and November 9th. I have now been some weeks returned from my journey through Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and the north of England, which, besides being an agreeable tour with a pleasant companion, has contributed to the establishment of my health; and this is the first ship I have heard of, by which I could write to you.
I thank you for the receipts; they are as full and particular as one could wish; but they can easily be practised only in America, no bayberry wax, nor any Brasiletto, being here to be had, at least to my knowledge. I am glad, however, that those useful arts, which have so long been in our family, are now put down in writing. Some future branch may be the better for it.
It gives me pleasure that those little things sent by Jonathan proved agreeable to you. I write now to cousin Williams to press the payment of the bond. There has been forbearance enough on my part; seven years or more, without receiving any principal or interest. It seems as if the debtor was like a whimsical man in Pennsylvania, of whom it was said that, it being against his principle to pay intertes, and against his interest to pay the principal, he paid neither one nor the other.
I doubt you have taken too old a pair of glasses, being tempted by their magnifying greatly. But people in choosing should only aim at remedying the defect. The glasses that enable them to see as well, at the same distance they used to hold their book or work, while their eyes were good, are those they should choose; not such as make them see better, for such contribute to hasten the time when still older glasses will become necessary.
All who have seen my grandson agree with you in their accounts of his being an uncommonly fine boy, which brings often afresh to my mind the idea of my son Franky,1 though now dead thirty-six years, whom I have seldom since seen equalled in every thing, and whom to this day I cannot think of without a sigh. Mr. Bache is here; I found him at Preston, in Lancashire, with his mother and sisters, very agreeable people, and I brought him to London with me. I very much like his behaviour. He returns in the next ship to Philadelphia. The gentleman who brought your last letter, Mr. Fox, stayed but a few minutes with me, and has not since called, as I desired him to do.
I shall endeavour to get the arms you desire for cousin Coffin. Having many letters to write, I can now only add my love to cousin Jenny, and that I am, as ever, your affectionate brother,
P. S.—Sally Franklin presents her duty. Mrs. Stevenson desires to be affectionately remembered. No arms of the Folgers are to be found in the Herald’s Office. I am persuaded it was originally a Flemish family, which came over with many others from that country in Queen Elizabeth’s time, flying from the persecution then raging there.
[1 ]His son, Francis Folger, who died when four years of age.