FRANKLIN had been in France for nearly nine years, the most strenuous, yet the most enjoyable period of his life. Only a man of his versatility and shrewdness could have coped with the problems of conflicting personalities involved in the struggle to secure and maintain the French alliance.
By now he was in his eightieth year and suffering constantly from a stone in his bladder. But his heart, spirit, and courage were as young as ever. The voyage home was probably the most pleasant of the eight he had made. On the forty-ninth day, September 14, 1785, at last he was home in "dear Philadelphia." His son-in-law Bache came to meet him with a boat; "we landed at Market Street wharf, where we were received by a crowd of people with huzzas, and accompanied with acclamations quite to my door. Found my family well.
'God be praised and thanked for all His mercies!'" 1
The welcome home ceremonies continued to occupy him for the better part of a week. But his thoughts were with his sister and friends in New England, and in spare moments he wrote both to the Greenes and to Jane Mecom.
Philada Sept. 20. 1785.
I seize this first Opportunity of acquainting my dear Friends that I have once more the great Happiness of being at home in my own Country & with my Family, because I know it will give you Pleasure. I shall be glad to hear of your Welfare also, and beg you to favour me with a Line, and let me know particularly how my young Friend Ray does.--I enjoy, Thanks to God, as much good