The Letters of Benjamin Franklin & Jane Mecom

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

sufficient to distinguish me from my Grandson. This Family joins in Love to you and yours, with

Your affectionate Brother

B FRANKLIN


"Your Reproof of my Miffy temper"

[An excerpt from this letter, the passage "I was a Litle suspicious . . . another time," was printed, though considerably altered, in Sparks, Works, X, 395n.; and the whole letter, except for the fourth and fifth paragraphs, is in Duane, Letters to Benjamin Franklin, pp. 175-178. It is here printed from the manuscript in the American Philosophical Society. Of the "Nantucket Relations" mentioned in the letter, Abisha Folger ("Fougre" in Jane Mecom's spelling) was a grandson of Abiah Folger Franklin's brother Eleazer; for thirty years he represented his town in the Massachusetts Assembly, and may have boarded with his Cousin Mecom during the legislative sessions in Boston. He had several brothers and several sons, one of whom was Captain Timothy Folger, mentioned elsewhere in notes in this volume. The "Jenkinss" in question were Seth and Thomas Jenkins, of the Folger kin, who left Nantucket for Providence, and later were leaders in the Association of Proprietors who after the Revolution founded the town of Hudson on the Hudson (North) River as an inland port then available to vessels of any existing draught. Seth Jenkins was mayor from 1785 to 1793, and then Thomas till his death in 1808. Columbia County at the End of the Century (Hudson, New York, 1900), I, 297-300, 407; II, Appendix paged separately, 19-20. Kezia Folger Coffin, who "Took to the wrong side" during the Revolution, was one of the outstanding Nantucket women of her time. She was a great-granddaughter of Eleazer Folger, married to John Coffin in October 1740, In April 1779 a raiding party of seven (or eight) small boats manned by loyalist refugees from New York landed on the island and carried off rebel property, including goods valued, the loyalists said, at "£10,666, 13s, 4p lawful money," from the Jenkins warehouse. Thomas Jenkins set the value of his lost spermaceti oil, whale bone, iron, coffee, and tobacco, at "Twenty five thousand Guineas at least." He charged his cousin Kezia Coffin with assisting the loyalists in their raid. He probably made the charge in the hope of recovering payment for his property from Kezia Coffin, a wealthy woman, and others involved with her, but found that his charges against the others might amount to treason, and so withdrew his complaint in March 1780. Jane Mecom's version of the complicated story is tolerably accurate. The best account of it, on the whole, is in Alexander Starbuck, The History of Nantucket ( 1924), pp. 205-229.

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