The Letters of Benjamin Franklin & Jane Mecom

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

and her heart ready to burst, you ought not to have insisted on it every time you wrote. Her fears and distress at that time, we have reason to think, has been one means of the death of her child, who from its birth started at every the least noise till it was taken with confulsion fits which ended its days at two months old. It was, however, a thriving and forward child a part of the time (till the fits seized it) and gave us hopes of much pleasure. Herself has not had many well days since you left her. She had first a violent cough and cold which has gone through the family, and then an ague in her head very severe, which lasted a long time, and since she has been brought to bed she has been initiated into all the exercises of a lying-in, no one incident excepted that I can think on, that kept her so weak she has been but a few days down stairs and never out before yesterday, when her husband took her on a horse a little way in the middle of the day.

I thank you for the care you have taken about my goods. I suppose you informed of what was left and you recovered if I put them into the list; I forget whether I did or no. I wish not to make a charge of what we have in possession

* * * *

[The remainder of this letter is lost]


"A report of yr Death"

[Printed first, and hitherto only, in Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, LXXII ( 1948), 267-270, and here printed again from the manuscript in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Jane Mecom had returned from her stay with the Baches at or near Philadelphia and was living with her granddaughter Jane Greene and her husband in Warwick, Rhode Island, not far from the house of Catharine Greene. During 1777 the report of Franklin's assassination in Paris had reached London, or had at least been announced there, and disturbed his relatives and friends in the United States. His missing letters to which his sister referred in this letter had reassured her. This letter of hers to him was forwarded by Tuthill Hubbart, who on May 14 wrote to tell Franklin of the comfort his American friends took from the news that he was not, as reported, in a languishing condition after the attempt on his life. Hubbart's letter is in the American Philosophical Society. The British

-176-

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