The Letters of Benjamin Franklin & Jane Mecom

By Carl Van Doren; Benjamin Franklin et al. | Go to book overview

"Too forward in cracking the shell"

[Printed first, and hitherto only, from a manuscript now missing, in Sparks, Familiar Letters, p. 27, from which it is here reprinted.]

Philadelphia, 30 November, 1752

DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER,

I congratulate you on the news of Benny's arrival, for whom I had been some time in pain.

That you may know the whole state of his mind and his affairs, and by that means be better able to advise him, I send you all the letters I have received from or concerning him. I fear I have been too forward in cracking the shell, and producing the chick to the air before its time.

We are at present all well, thanks to God, and hope you and yours are so. I am

Your affectionate brother,

B. FRANKLIN

P.S. In my opinion, if Benny can but be prevailed on to behave steadily, he may make his fortune there. And without some share of steadiness and perseverance, he can succeed no where. Please to return me the letters.


"The loss of our dear brother"

[Printed first, from a manuscript now missing, in Sparks, Familiar Letters, p. 38, from which it is here reprinted. John Franklin died in Boston on January 30, 1756, and Benjamin Franklin wrote, besides this letter to Jane Mecom, a famous letter to Elizabeth Hubbart, John Franklin's stepdaughter, dated February 23. John Franklin's will, of which there is a copy in the American Philosophical Society, was dated January 22, 1756, with a codicil of the 26th. It bequeathed to Jane Mecom "1 pair of Silver Canns with my arms upon Them" and an equal share with her brothers and sisters in the remainder of the "Real and Personal Estate" after the specified legacies had been paid. Provision was made for Peter Mecom, then not quite seventeen and apprenticed to his uncle, "Tallow Chandler." All the "Utensils belonging to my Business" were to go to the widow "during her Natural life," and "also the Use of my Negro named Cesar: and after her Decease I give all the same to my Kinsmen, Peter Franklin Mecom and James Barker equally between them." Barker was related to John Franklin's

-50-

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