Mr. Franklin: A Selection from His Personal Letters

By Leonard W. Labaree; Benjamin Franklin et al. | Go to book overview

oblig'd to destroy! If there is no other Use discover'd of Electricity, this, however, is something considerable, that it may help to make a vain Man humble. I must now request that you would not expose those Letters; or if you communicate them to any Friends, you would at least conceal my Name. I have not Time to add, but that I am, Sir,

Your obliged and most humble Servant

B. Franklin


FAMILY REPORT

FRANKLIN lived too far away from his parents and his numerous brothers and sisters in New England for all of them to keep in close touch with each other in those days of slow and difficult communication. Yet they did exchange letters at irregular intervals and usually took the opportunity, when writing, to pass along recent family news. One such letter to his mother Abiah Franklin, then eighty-three and a widow for the past five years, gives a glimpse of her youngest son's Philadelphia household during that short, happy interval between his retirement from active business as a printer and his full immersion in public affairs. Comments on the perennial servant problem--this time, misbehaving Negro slaves--and news of other relatives recently moved to Philadelphia accompany reports on his children and himself: William, who had been on the Canadian military expedition a few years before and was only just settling down again; and little Sarah (or Sally), "going on seven," who, throughout his life, was her father's special joy. His contentment with life, during this rare period of creative leisure, is fully apparent.

-6-

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Mr. Franklin: A Selection from His Personal Letters
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction xiii
  • Brother and Sister 3
  • The Scientific Spirit 4
  • Family Report 6
  • A Whirlwind For Mr. Franklin 8
  • A Philosopher Looks At Death 10
  • A Lesson In Relativity 12
  • Type For The Connoisseur 13
  • An Optimist And His Enemies 15
  • Pater Familias 17
  • A Pen Has A Sharp Point 20
  • The Arts Move Westward 21
  • Conversation in a Coach 22
  • Prudential Algebra 25
  • A New Use For Madeira Wine 27
  • A Revolt Begins 29
  • How To Pay For A War 34
  • A Scientist Turns Politician 36
  • How To Recommend A Stranger 41
  • Twelve Commandments 42
  • Father Is Not Pleased 44
  • Money Talks 48
  • The Delightful Ladies Of France 50
  • Two Americans 52
  • Miss Virginia 53
  • What Good is a New-Born Baby? 55
  • Independence Has Its Responsibilities 59
  • Farewell 60
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