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TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN
LONDON, 6 January, 1773. MY DEAR Child:-I feel some regard for this 6th of January, as my old nominal birthday, though the change of style has carried the real day forward to the 17th, when I shall be, if I live till then, sixtyseven years of age. It seems but the other day since you and I were ranked among the boys and girls, so swiftly does time fly! We have, however, great reason to be thankful, that so much of our lives has passed so happily; and that so great a share of health and strength remains, as to render life yet comfortable.
I received your kind letter of November 16th by Sutton. The apples are not yet come on shore, but I thank you for them. Captain All was so good as to send me a barrel of excellent ones, which serve me in the meantime. I rejoice to hear that you all continue well. But you have so used me to have something pretty about the boy, that I am a little disappointed in finding nothing more of him than that he is gone up to Burlington. Pray give in your next, as usual, a little of his history.
All our friends here are pleased with your remembering them, and send their love to you. Give mine to all that inquire concerning me, and a good deal to our children. I am ever, my dear Debby, your affectionate husband,
TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY, ESQ.
London, 6 January, 1773. DEAR FRIEND:-I have received your favors of October 18th and 30th. I am obliged greatly to you and Mr. Rhodes for your friendly interposition in the affair of my salary. As I never made any bargain with the House, I accept thankfully whatever they please to give me, and shall continue to serve them as long as I can afford to stay here. Perhaps it may be thought that my other agencies contribute more than sufficient for that purpose, but the Jersey allowance, though well paid, is a very small one; that from Georgia, £100 only, is some years in arrear, and will not be continued, as their appointment is by a yearly act, which, I am told, the governor will not again pass with my name in it; and from Boston I have never received a farthing, perhaps never shall, as their governor is instructed to pass no salary to an agent whose appointment he has not assented to. In these circumstances, with an almost double expense of living by my family remaining in Philadelphia, the losses I am continually suffering in my affairs there through absence, together with my now advanced age, I feel renewed inclinations to return and spend the remainder of my days in private life, having had rather more than my share of public bustle. I only wish first to improve a little, for the general advantage of our country, the favorable appearances arising from the change of our American minister, and
the good light I am told I stand in with the successor. If I be instrumental in (illegible) things in good train, with a prospect of their (illegible) on a better footing than they have had for some years past, I shall think a little additional time well spent, though I were to have no allowance for it at all.
I must, however, beg you will not think of retiring from public business. You are yet a young man, and may still be greatly serviceable to your country. It would be, I think, something criminal to bury in private retirement so early all the usefulness of so much experience and such great abilities. The people do not indeed always see their friends in the same favorable light; they are sometimes mistaken, and sometimes misled; but sooner or later they come right again, and redouble their former affection. This, I am confident, will happen in your case, as it often has in the case of others. Therefore, preserve your spirits and persevere, at least to the age of sixty, a boundary I once fixed for myself, but have gone beyond it.
I am afraid the bill, Wilcocks on Col. Alex. Johnstone, for £166 15 34 must be returned with a protest. I shall know in a day or two.
I shall consult Mr. Jackson, and do in the island affair what shall be thought best for securing your interest and that of all concerned.
By our spring ships I shall write you more fully. At present I can only add that I am with unalterable esteem and affection, Yours most sincerely,
TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN
LONDON, 2 February, 1773. MY DEAR CHILD:Since my last I have got the apples on shore, and they come out very good. Accept my best thanks. Mr. Bache, of New York, has also kindly sent me two barrels; Capt. Winn one, and Capt. Falconer one. I told you before that Capt. All gave me one, so that I am now plentifully supplied.
I know you love to have a line from me by every packet, so I write, though I have little to say, having had no letter from you since my last, of January 6th.
In return for your history of your grandson, I must give you a little of the history of my godson. He is now twenty-one months old, very strong and healthy, begins to speak a little, and even to sing. He was with us a few days last week, grew fond of me, and would not be contented to sit down to breakfast without coming to call pa, rejoicing when he had got me into my place. When seeing me one day crack one of the Philadelphia biscuits into my tea with the nut-crackers, he took another and tried to do the same with the tea-tongs. It makes me long to be at home to play with Ben.
My love to him and our children, with all inquiring friends. Mrs. Stevenson presents her affectionate respects, and Sally her duty.
I am ever, my dear Debby,
TO JOHN BARTRAM
LONDON, 10 February, 1773. MY DEAR GOOD OLD FRIEND:
I am glad to learn that the turnip-seed and the rhubarb grow with you, and that the turnip is approved. It may be depended on, that the rhubarb is the genuine sort. But, to have the root in perfection, it ought not to be taken out of the ground in less than seven years. Herewith I send you a few seeds of what is called the cabbage turnip. They say that it will stand the frost of the severest winter, and so make a fine early feed for cattle in the spring, when their other fodder may be scarce. I send also some seed of the Scotch cabbage; and some peas that are much applauded here, but I forget for what purpose, and shall inquire and let you know in my next.
I think there has been no good opportunity of sending your medal since I received it, till now. It goes in a box to my son Bache, with the seeds. I wish you joy of it. Notwithstanding the failure of your eyes, you write as distinctly as ever. With great esteem and respect, I am, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,