The Letters of Benjamin Franklin & Jane Mecom

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

I have not yet seen Capt. Jenkins, but will enquire him out when I next go to the City


"A little Affectation in your Apology"

[Printed first in Bigelow, Works, V, 190-191, from the manuscript now in the Library of Congress; reprinted largely from Bigelow in Smyth, Writings, VI, 93-94; here printed more correctly from the manuscript. The Paddock to whom Franklin referred was probably Captain Seth Paddock (or Paddack) from whom there are letters to Franklin in the American Philosophical Society which make it appear that Paddock was one of the Nantucket kinsmen. "Young Hubbard" was Samuel Hubbart, son of Thomas and Judith Ray Hubbart. There is some mystery about the date July 7 for this letter. On July 6 Franklin wrote to his wife from West Wycombe on his way to Oxford, where he remained a week. The explanation seems to be that he wrote the letter to Jane Mecom, and others also dated the 7th, before he left, to be sent as of that date; or that he actually wrote all the letters of the 7th at West Wycombe, at the house of his friend Baron Le Despencer, but dated them at London which was a permanent address. Lord Le Despencer was one of Franklin's British chiefs in the post office. It is no wonder that this letter to Jane Mecom seems hastily written, for on that same date Franklin wrote two long letters on Massachusetts affairs to Thomas Cushing, and one partly political to Samuel Cooper; with briefer letters to Samuel Mather, son of Cotton Mather, and to two cousins, Samuel Franklin and Jonathan Williams Sr.]

London, July 7. 1773

DEAR SISTER

I believe it is long since I have written any Letters to you. I hope you will excuse it. I am oppress'd with too much Writing, and am apt to postpone when I presume upon some Indulgence.

I received duly yours of Jan. 19., Apr. 20., May 5 and May 15.

Our Relations Jenkins & Paddock came to see me. They seem to be clever sensible Men.

Is there not a little Affectation in your Apology for the Incorrectness of your Writing? Perhaps it is rather fishing for

-139-

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