The Letters of Benjamin Franklin & Jane Mecom

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

you would take care to have delivered as directed. There is one for your Trouble.


"Too old to be ambitious of such a Station"

[All of this letter except the first and the last two sentences was printed first in Sparks, Familiar Letters, p. 117n., as "to a lady in America"; and again in Sparks, Works, VII, 442-443, as "To Mrs. Jane Mecom." It is here first printed in full from the manuscript in the American Philosophical Society. It had been rumored in America that Franklin was to be offered a post as under-secretary of state, and he had written in detail about the negotiations to William Franklin on July 2, 1768. "Mr Jeffries your Neighbour" was probably David Jeffries, father of Dr. John Jeffries, later the famous balloonist, who had taken a letter from Boston to Franklin earlier in 1769. "Mrs Blount" was presumably Franklin's Craven Street friend Miss Dorothea (or Dorothy) Blount (or Blunt), but her letter is missing and the "Similitude" remains a mystery.]

DEAR SISTER, London, April 27. 1769.

I received your kind Letter of Jan. 30. Mrs Stevenson has executed your Order, and sends the Things in a Bandbox directed to you, in the Care of Mr Jeffries your Neighbour. A new-fashion'd something that was not ready when the Box was pack'd up, is inclos'd in her Letter.

I am now grown too old to be ambitious of such a Station as that which you say has been mention'd to you. Repose is more fit for me, and much more suitable to my Wishes. There is no Danger of such a thing being offer'd me, & I am sure I shall never ask it. But even if it were offer'd, I certainly could not accept it, to act under such Instructions as I know must be given with it. So you may be quite easy on that head.

The Acct. you write of the growing Industry, Frugality and good Sense of my Country-women gives me more Pleasure than you can imagine: For from thence I presage great Advantages to our Country.--I should be sorry that you are engag'd in a Business which happens not to coincide with the general Interest, if you did not acquaint me that you are now near the End of it.

-110-

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