Temple's Diary Temple's Diary
Episode 8. 1776: Year of the Revolution?

The Electric Franklin

January 25, 1776
Excerpt of William Franklin's letter to Temple, January 22, 1776.

My father's answer to my cautious enquiry has arrived. Will it be as I imagined: little or nothing about his own situation, but all about his concern for Elizabeth's health? Yes, exactly. He does not have the leisure to acquaint me with the particulars of his situation. "Suffice it to say we have been abominably ill-used." He has kept an exact diary of all that happened and may send it to me sometime. Elizabeth has not yet recovered from her fright, her anxiety has nearly deprived her of life, the least sudden noise throws her into hysterics. He has tried in vain to prevail on her to go to Barbados or England, "where she has friends and relations who will treat her with that kindness and respect with which she has always treated mine," but she is not willing to go off by herself while he, obviously, cannot accompany her. Finally, the expected reproach: "She has no relations of her own in this country to whom she can resort, or from whom she can receive any comfort in a time of distress; and she cannot but take notice that mine do not at present seem disposed to give themselves any concern about her, omitting even those enquiries and outward forms of complaisance and civility which she daily receives from strangers."

As to me, he enjoins me not to concern myself with politics (as if that were possible!), to acquire as much useful learning as I can (meaning Latin?), and to enroll in the fencing school, even though it is extravagantly expensive. He also wants me to send "a new Pamphlet published by Bell, entitled Common Sense."

How will he react to that? He'll hate it, surely.