oblig'd to destroy! If there is no other Use discover'd of Electricity, this, however, is something considerable, that it may help to make a vain Man humble. I must now request that you would not expose those Letters; or if you communicate them to any Friends, you would at least conceal my Name. I have not Time to add, but that I am, Sir,
Your obliged and most humble Servant
FRANKLIN lived too far away from his parents and his numerous brothers and sisters in New England for all of them to keep in close touch with each other in those days of slow and difficult communication. Yet they did exchange letters at irregular intervals and usually took the opportunity, when writing, to pass along recent family news. One such letter to his mother Abiah Franklin, then eighty-three and a widow for the past five years, gives a glimpse of her youngest son's Philadelphia household during that short, happy interval between his retirement from active business as a printer and his full immersion in public affairs. Comments on the perennial servant problem--this time, misbehaving Negro slaves--and news of other relatives recently moved to Philadelphia accompany reports on his children and himself: William, who had been on the Canadian military expedition a few years before and was only just settling down again; and little Sarah (or Sally), "going on seven," who, throughout his life, was her father's special joy. His contentment with life, during this rare period of creative leisure, is fully apparent.