Benjamin Franklin and Catharine Ray Greene: Their Correspondence, 1755-1790

By William Greene Roelker | Go to book overview

I. The First Meeting 1755-1757

FRANKLIN had set out from Philadelphia in August, 1754, on a tour of inspection and regulation of the post offices. During November 1 and December he was in the vicinity of Boston, where he had held various conferences with Governor Shirley regarding the aftermath of the Albany Convention. But he did not neglect post office business. He had appointed his brother John, a tallow chandler, postmaster in place of Elias Huske. The Boston Weekly-News Letter for January 2, 1755, had carried the following announcement: "Notice is hereby given, That the Post Office is now kept at Mr. John Franklin's in Cornhill, December 30, 1754."

Because in the eighteenth century it was customary for visitors to stay with their relatives, Franklin naturally put up at his brother John's, where Caty was visiting her sister Judith in the early winter of 1754-1755.

"Mr. John Franklin's in Cornhill" was the mansion which Mrs. Elizabeth (Gooch) Hubbard had inherited in 1732 on the death of her husband, John Hubbard. John Franklin came to live there when he married the widow Hubbard in 1753. From the Land Title Records in the Bowditch Collection at the Massachusetts Historical Society the exact location of the property has been established; the site is now occupied by the northeasterly part of the Ames Building. The Hubbard property fronted 21 feet on Cornhill (now Washington Street) and extended 144 feet towards Dassetts Alley (now Franklin Avenue). At the corner of the latter and Queen Street (now Court Street) was the Printing Office where James and Benjamin Franklin had published the New England Courant.

At this period Franklin's sister, Jane Mecom, also lived in Boston not far from the Hubbard's. She kept a boarding house, at one time near the Orange Tree Inn at the corner of Hanover and Sudbury streets and at another time near the Blue Ball,

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Benjamin Franklin and Catharine Ray Greene: Their Correspondence, 1755-1790
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Introduction 1
  • I. the First Meeting 1755-1757 6
  • Ii. the Hostess 1758-1774 30
  • Iii. the Eve of Independence 1775-1776 48
  • Iv. Franklin at Paris 1776-1785 83
  • V. Twilight 1785-1790 126
  • Index of Persons 141
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