Philadelphia, June 19, 1731.
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WE have had the smallpox here lately, which raged violently while it lasted. There have been about fifty persons inoculated, who all recovered except a child of the doctor's upon whom the smallpox appeared within a day or two after the operation, and who is therefore thought to have been certainly infected before. In one family in my neighbourhood there appeared a great mortality. Mr. George Claypoole . . . had, by industry, acquired a great estate, and being in excellent business, a merchant, would probably have doubled it, had he lived according to the common course of years. He died first, suddenly; within a short time died his best negro; then one of his children; then a negro woman; then two children more, buried at the same time; then two more; so that I saw two double buryings come out of the house in one week. None were left in the family, but the mother and one child, and both their lives till lately despaired of; so that all the father's wealth, which everybody thought, a little while ago, had heirs enough, and no one would have given sixpence for the
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Publication information: Book title: The Ingenious Dr. Franklin:Selected Scientific Letters of Benjamin Franklin. Contributors: Nathan G. Goodman - Editor, Benjamin Franklin - Author. Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press. Place of publication: Philadelphia. Publication year: 1931. Page number: 148.