The Letters of Benjamin Franklin & Jane Mecom

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

poor. The four American Shares are paid into my Hands for the Parties, and I desire you would let me know what will be most agreable to have it sent in. I would have you also visit Sister Dowse, and read her this Letter, & help her to contrive what I shall send hers in. I can now only add, that I am,

Your ever Affectionate Brother

B FRANKLIN


"There new remains but three"

[Excerpts from this letter were printed in Sparks, Familiar Letters, p. 9n., as "to a relative," and p. 63n., as "to a sister in America"; it was first printed entire in Goodman, a Benjamin Franklin Reader, pp. 753- 754. It is here printed more correctly from the manuscript in the American Philosophical Society. Elizabeth Franklin Douse had died about the 1st of October 1759, and the three surviving Franklins were Jane, Peter, and Benjamin. Jacob Bailey, who carried this letter to Jane Mecom, dined in London with Franklin on March 5 and 25. William S. Bartlett , The Frontier Missionary: A Memoir of the Life of the Rev. Jacob Bailey, A.M. ( New York, 1853), pp. 63, 66.]

London, Jan. 9. 1760

DEAR SISTER,

I received a Letter or two from you, in which I perceive you have misunderstood and taken unkindly something I said to you in a former jocular one of mine concerning Charity. I forget what it was exactly, but I am sure I neither exprest nor meant any personal Censure on you or any body. If any thing, it was a general Reflection on our Sect; we zealous Presbyterians being too apt to think ourselves alone in the right, and that besides all the Heathens, Mahometans and Papists, whom we give to Satan in a Lump, other Sects of Christian Protestants that do not agree with us, will hardly escape Perdition. And I might recommend it to you to be more charitable in that respect than many others are; not aiming at any Reproof, as you term it; for if I were dispos'd to reprove you, it should be for your only Fault, that of supposing and spying Affronts, and catching at them where they are not. But as you seem sensible of this your

-71-

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