The Letters of Benjamin Franklin & Jane Mecom

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

"The House is Pleasant for Light and Air"

[Here first printed from the manuscript in the American Philosophical Society. To simplify this letter's tangled account of the transactions involved: Jane Mecom had preferred not to accept the millinery goods mentioned by Franklin in his letter of September 13, 1783, and brought to her from London by Jonathan Williams Sr., but instead to take the value in money and leave it with Williams at interest; and the money Franklin had sent her in the form of a draft on Samuel Cooper arrived after Cooper's death on December 23, 1783, with resulting delay in payment. There is no letter from Franklin to his sister in which he said there are some things "Proper to convers with a Friend about that is not Proper to write," but it will be noted that in his replies to her most tragic stories about her family he never mentioned the actual details. The young gentleman whose father was a "Bankrupt and a vagabond" has not been identified. "Portt Rosway" to which the luckless Collas had gone "Down" was Port Roseway, "down east" from Boston and near Cape Negro, Nova Scotia. A "chase" (chaise) was a two-wheeled vehicle with a seat for two persons and a top; the top distinguished it from what was called a "chair."]

Boston August 16th 1784

DEAR BROTHER

It is my Duty as well as Inclination to Inform you much oftner than I have done of my situation and Afairs, I acknolidg I have Suffered very Trifling circumstances to cause me to Neglect it for the Time; you are the only Person in the world I wish to know all my Transactions an the motives to them as such a Friend as my Dear Brother would subject me to the Least Inconvenancy but you Long ago convinced me that there is many things Proper to convers with a Friend about that is not Proper to write.

you will undoubtedly think it Strange I have not Sooner Informed about the goods you Expected cousen Williams brought me from England, and I have all along Intended it; but was Flatered with the Expectaion of your coming Home & it was Likely you were on your Pasage; and I commonly find my Self in a fraim so unsuitable to write to you that I am too Apt to Neglect it., After Mr williams was gone I recd your Leter Informing me of the bill you had sent me, I then Aplied to Mrs williams & recved a Note of hand for it Jointly with her Son.

-228-

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