The Letters of Benjamin Franklin & Jane Mecom

By Carl Van Doren; Benjamin Franklin et al. | Go to book overview

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Jane Mecom to Deborah Franklin

[Printed first, and hitherto only, in Duane, Letters to Benjamin Franklin, pp. 192-195, with some misreadings and with the question whether Sarah Franklin was "Like to have another child" modestly omitted; here printed from the manuscript in the American Philosophical Society. The queried date is in another hand, and is plainly wrong: from its contents the letter cannot have been written before December in answer to the missing letter from Deborah Franklin of what must have been the 15th of that month. Captain Sparks (not "Franks" as in Duane) sailed between Philadelphia and London and was a friend of the Franklins. Josiah and Jonathan Williams had left for London with their "Unkle the Inspector," John Williams, after the date of Jane Mecom's letter of September 22 to her brother. Elizabeth Hubbart, now Mrs. Partridge ("Pateridge"), Susannah ("Suckey") Hubbart, and Tuthill Hubbart were stepchildren of John Franklin, Jane Mecom's deceased brother. "Cousen Ingorsol" was Colonel Joseph Ingersoll. Governor John Wentworth of New Hampshire, who had succeeded his uncle Benning Wentworth in that post in June 1767, had been married in November 1769. His uncle had died on October 14, 1770, without issue. It is not clear which Governor Wentworth Deborah Franklin had asked about. The Reverend William Gordon, subsequently author of The History of the Rise, Progress, and Establishment of the Independence of the United States ( 4 vols., 1788), had arrived from England, with his family, in Philadelphia on November 1, 1770. The following year he settled at Roxbury, Massachusetts, and became minister of the Third Congregational Church of that town. The many friends whom Jane Mecom had made in Philadelphia, and about whom she asked, included Dr. Thomas Bond (one of the original members of the American Philosophical Society), Thomas Yorke (formerly a fellow member with Franklin in the Pennsylvania Assembly), Dr. John Shippen (who had died on November 26), Captain Isaac All ("Cousen All," a relation of Deborah Franklin's who often appears in the Franklin correspondence), and the Reverend Jacob Duché ("Dushay," the popular preacher whom Jane Mecom had heard at Christ Church, attended by Deborah Franklin and the Baches). William Goddard, then publisher of the Pennsylvania Chronicle with the assistance of his sister Mary Katherine Goddard, was Benjamin Mecom's employer in Philadelphia. The "Duke of Wharton, Marquis of Rockingham" was Samuel Wharton, who was associated with Franklin in the plans for the Vandalia colony, and it was rumored he might become governor of it: that is, get "His Goverment," as Jane Mecom put it. Deborah Franklin's "Nibour Hadock" was probably

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