“Favorable . . . that you can forgit you are grown old”

In the last post Jane Mecom mentions that her brother, Benjamin Franklin, was building a new house. Benjamin Franklin expected to retire upon his return from Europe in 1785, but he was drawn into politics and elected “president” of Pennsylvania, in effect the governor, the following year. In this letter Jane rather playfully remarks that the construction will give his life a focus and make him forget that he is getting old. Jane is such a character, lively and witty, always fun to read.

Boston Oct. 12 1786Dear Brother
I am sorry you are Pesterd with Law disputes in your old Age but as that is the case it is well you have Plenty of Ground to Inlarge your Present Dwelling. It will not only be an Amusement but in all Probebilety a sample of many Ingenious contrivances for others to Profit by in Future. I Imagin Part of your Plan will be to have a Front Dore, Entry and Starecase, to go all the way up to your Lodging Rooms and garretts; besides a Pasage from the mane Hous as I sopose thro won of your best chamber closets which will be saifer in case of Fier. I shall Expect Mrs. Bache to Inform me how it is Decorated when Finished if I live so long which it is Proble Enouf I may not. It is a Favourable circumstance that you can sometimes forgit you are grown old otherwise it might chick you in many Useful Discoveries you are makeing for yer fellow men, I wish our Poor Distracted State would atend to the many good Lesons which have been frequently Publishd for there Instruction, but we seem to want Wisdon to Giued, and honesty to comply with our Duty, and so keep allways in a Flame. . . .
Jane MecomMy love to your children and Grandchildren

Don’t you like the notion of an escape route in case of fire through a door inside a closet?

The letter can be found online in The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, The Digital Edition maintained by the The Packard Humanities Institute in the unpublished letters for the years 1786-87.

posted March 26th, 2015 by Janet, CATEGORIES: Franklin, Benjamin, Mecom, Jane


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