The Letters of Benjamin Franklin & Jane Mecom

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

"If a Boston Man should come to be Pope!"

[Printed first, and hitherto only, in the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Series 6, IV, 260-261, from the manuscript in the Society; and here printed again from the manuscript. John Thayer had become a Roman Catholic on May 25 of that year. In a letter to Jonathan Williams Sr. of April 13, 1785, Franklin said that Thayer had "converted himself lately at Rome, and is now preparing a return home for the purpose of converting his countrymen. Our ancestors from Catholic first became Church-of-England men, and then refined into Presbyterians. To change now from Presbyterianism to Popery seems to me refining backwards, from white sugar to brown."]

Passy, Sept. 13. 1783

DEAR SISTER,

I received your kind Letter of April 29. and am happy that the little Supplies I sent you, have contributed to make your Life more comfortable. I shall by this Opportunity order some more Money into the Hands of Cousin Williams, to be dispos'd of in assisting you as you may have Occasion.

Your Project of taking a House for us to spend the Remainder of our Days in, is a pleasing one; but it is a Project of the Heart rather than of the Head. You forget, as I sometimes do, that we are grown old, and that before we can have furnish'd our House, & put things in order, we shall probably be call'd away from it, to a Home more lasting, and I hope more agreable than any this World can afford us.

Tell my Cousin Colas, that the Parson she recommended to me is gone to Rome, and it is reported has chang'd his Presbyterianism for the Catholic Religion. I hope he got something to boot, because that would be a sort of Proof that they allow'd our Religion to be, so much at least, better than theirs.--It would be pleasant, if a Boston Man should come to be Pope! Stranger Things have happened.

Cousin Williams went back for Boston from London about the Beginning of June, so that probably he is with you before this time. He laid out, by my Desire, the Money he receiv'd for you, in Goods, which you will receive of him. When you have

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