The Letters of Benjamin Franklin & Jane Mecom

By Benjamin Franklin; Jane Mecom et al. | Go to book overview

Benjamin Franklin to Abiah Franklin

[Printed first, and hitherto only, in Sparks, Familiar Letters, pp. 20-21, from which it is here reprinted. Sparks mistakenly gives the date as 1751. It was written after Franklin had received the letters, now missing, from his mother dated April 13 and 20; and before his own letter of May 21, 1752, to Edward and Jane Mecom. Boston had been visited early in 1752 by a severe epidemic of smallpox which killed at least five hundred victims, among them apparently Jane Mecom's youngest daughter Abiah, called "Biah" in this letter. She died on April 23, before the letter could reach her grandmother, who died on May 8. The order for six pistoles was drawn on Ellis Huske, identified in the note to the letter of May 21. A pistole was a Spanish coin then common in the English colonies and was worth about 18 shillings.]

Philadelphia, [ May, 1752]

HONORED MOTHER,

We received by this post both your letters of April 13th and 20th. The account you give of poor little Biah grieves me, but I still hope the best. However, God's will must be done. I rejoice that the rest of sister's children and brother Davenport's are likely to escape so well, and Mrs. Billings's.

Enclosed I send an order for six pistoles, which I believe will be paid on sight. I beg sister to accept four of them, and you the other two.

I am your dutiful son,

B. FRANKLIN


"Our dear good mother's death"

[First printed, from a manuscript now missing, in Sparks, Familiar Letters, pp. 22-23, from which it is here reprinted. Abiah Franklin had died on May 8. Ellis Huske was then printer of the Boston Post-Boy and postmaster of Boston.]

Philadelphia, 21 May, 1752

DEAR, BROTHER AND SISTER,

I received yours with the affecting news of our dear good mother's death. I thank you for your long continued care of her in her old age and sickness. Our distance made it impracticable for us to attend her, but you have supplied all. She has lived a good life, as well as a long one, and is happy.

Since I sent you the order on Mr. Huske, I have received

-47-

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