The Letters of Benjamin Franklin & Jane Mecom

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

I wrot you by Coll Sergant which I sopose you have recived when you have Leasure you will let me know, I depend on cousen John Williams to convey this by some Philadelphia Gentleman whose name he had forgot, my Friend & Neibour Dr Lathrope wishes for an opertunity I shall let him know of this

Present my love to yr children and Grandchildren & beleve Ever your Gratfull as well Affectionat Sister

JANE MECOM


"Water to a dry Pump"

[First printed in a short-lived New York newspaper, The Evening Signal, edited by Park Benjamin and Rufus W. Griswold, on October 23, 1839, from a manuscript not now known to exist; and here printed by the courtesy of the New-York Historical Society from the file of the Signal in the Society's possession. Sparks, Works, x, 444-446, printed the letter from the newspaper but followed his own style in spelling and punctuation. Smith, Writings, IX, 612-614, made use of the letter-press copy in the Library of Congress, of which only pages 1 and 4 of the original have been preserved, but for the remainder took his text from Sparks, even to the sentence "It is a discourse well written," which is not in the letter-press copy and in the Signal reads " 'Tis a Discourse well written." John Lathrop on August 30, 1787, had sent Franklin a copy of A Discourse, before the Humane Society in Boston: Delivered on the second Tuesday of June, 787. By John Lathrop, D.D. Boston: Printed by E. Russell, 1787. Writing in the third person, Lathrop had referred to Jane Mecom as "a near neighbor, a particular friend, and a worthy member of the society of christians with which he is connected." In the Evening Signal this "Original Letter of Benjamin Franklin to his Sister," as the head reads, is preceded by an editorial note: "We have much pleasure in laying before our readers the following letter from the celebrated Benjamin Franklin, which is now for the first time published. Of its genuineness there is no doubt, and any one who may be incredulous on this point, can examine the original autograph letter at this office. The internal evidence will, however, we believe, be considered sufficient to stamp its truth. The memorandum on the letter is 'concerning the War.' " The Signal text seems to have been printed with close fidelity to the letter which Franklin sent, in which he presumably added the commendation of Lathrop's Discourse after the letter-press copy had been taken. An excerpt from this letter had been printed in the Boston Gazette for March 3, 1794, just before Jane Mecom's death. This may mean that the whole letter had got out of her hands and so found its roundabout way to the editors of the Signal.]

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