To Sarah Savage Thatcher

    Philadelphia        10 January 1797

    Two days ago, being sunday, while I was agreeably entertained by Doctor [Joseph] Priestly the cry of Fire broke up our meeting; but after a few moments the disturbance subsided & the Doctor was proceeding again in his Sermon—but in two or three minutes the cry of fire was commenced with more anxiety than at first—Now I took my hat & walked towards my lodgings, & turning the corner of a street I saw two Engines placed directly in front of the house I lodge in—This alarmed me, to quicken my pace, & I forced my way thro’ two lines of Bucket men & run into the house

    I found every flore from the Ground to the roof with all the stairs floating with water, & the Beds in my own & the other chambers all packed up & ready to be carried out—Three Engines were then playing on the roof of the house seperated from ours only by a single brick wall—But I soon found the fire was quenched—

    It catched in a small closet directly against the bed I sleep in seperated by a single brick wall, among some cloaths & papers. There is no doubt but the people had that morning shifted their cloaths by the fire & some spark fell among them when they were thrown into the closet—

    I write this that you may be cautious of every thing you set away from the fire, & have only time to add—It was never colder in this place than it is now—

    & that I am, my dear, yours

    * * *

    ALS, TFP. Addressed to Biddeford; franked; postmarked.