[Printed first, not quite correctly, in Goodman, A Benjamin Franklin Reader, pp. 762-763. Here again printed from the manuscript in the American Philosophical Society. The sermon which Jane Mecom supposed to be by her brother has not been identified. Since her letter of June 13 is missing, it is impossible to tell what was the weight which had lain so heavily upon her.]
London, Sept. 29. 1769
When I returned lately from France, I found among other Letters for me that had been here sometime, yours of June 13.
It pleases me to hear you are at present relieved from the Weight, which lately lay so heavy on you that "all the Assistance of Reason and Religion were scarce sufficient to keep your Spirits up."--It is well you had such Aids. Our Reason would still be of more Use to us, if it could enable us to prevent the Evils it can hardly enable us to bear.--But in that it is so deficient, and in other things so often misleads us, that I have sometimes been almost tempted to wish we had been furnished with a good sensible Instinct instead of it.
The Sermon which you call mine, I know nothing of. I have only heard of it: I never saw it. It was wrong to give me as the Author of it. Whether it be good or bad, I have no Right to the Reputation or the Censures it may deserve.
Mrs Stevenson scarce ever can prevail on herself to write a Letter to anyone; but she acknowledges the Receipt of yours, presents her best Respects, and holds herself always ready to serve you.
My Love to Jenny, & believe me ever
Your affectionate Brother
[Printed first, and hitherto only, from a manuscript now missing, in Sparks, Familiar Letters, pp. 123-124, from which it is here reprinted.]