« AnteriorContinuar »
“Sally grows a fine girl, and is extremely industrious with her needle, and delights in her work. She is of a most affectionate temper, and perfectly dutiful and obliging to her parents and to all. Perhaps I flatter myself too much, but I have hope that she will prove an ingenious, sensible, notable, and worthy woman, like her aunt Jenny; she goes now to the dancing school.
“For my own part, at present, I pass my time agrecably enough; I enjoy (through mercy) a tolerable share of health. I read a great deal, ride a little, do a little business for myself (now and then for others), retire when I can, and go into company when I please so; the years roll round, and the last will come, when I would rather have it said he lived usefully than he died rich.
“ Cousins Josiah and Sally are well, and I believe will do well, for they are an industrious, loving young couple; but they want a little more stock to go on smoothly with their business.
‘My love to brother and sister Mecom and their children, and to all my relations in general. I am your dutiful son,
“ B. FRANKLIN.”
“ Miss Jane Franklin.*
Philadelphia, January 6, 1726–7. 6 DEAR SISTER, “I am highly pleased with the account Captain Freeman gives me of you. I always judged by your behaviour when a child, that you would make a good, agreeable woman, and you know you were ever my peculiar favourite. I have been thinking what would be a suitable present for me to make, and for you to receive, as I hear you are grown a celebrated beau
* His sister married Mr. Edward Mecom, July 27, 1727.
ty. I had almost determined on a teatable ; but when I considered that the character of a good housewife was far preferable to that of being only a pretty gentlewoman, I concluded to send you a spinning-wheel, which I hope you will accept as a small token of my sincere love and affection.
“Sister, farewell, and remember that modesty, as it makes the most homely virgin amiable and charming, so the want of it infallibly renders the most perfect beauty disagreeable and odious. But when that brightest of female virtues shines among other perfections of body and mind in the same person, it makes the woman more lovely than an angel. Excuse this freedom, and use the same with me, I am, dear Jenny, your loving brother,
To the same.
Philadelphia, July 28, 1743. “ DEAREST SISTER JENNY, “I took your admonition very kindly, and was far from being offended at you for it. If I say anything about it to you, 'tis only to rectify some wrong opinions you seem to have entertained of me; and this I do only because they give you some uneasiness, which I am unwilling to be the cause of. You express yourself as if you thought I was against worshipping of God, and doubt that good works would merit heaven; which are both fancies of your own, I think, without foundation. I am so far from thinking that God is not to be worshipped, that I have composed and wrote a whole book of devotions for my own use, and I imagine there are few, if any, in the world so weak as to imagine that the little good we can do here can merit so vast a reward hereafter.
* There are some things in your New-England VOL. II.-10
doctrine and worship which I do not agree with: but I do not therefore condemn them, or desire to shake your belief or practice of them. dislike things that are nevertheless right in themselves : I would only have you make me the same allowance, and have a better opinion both of morality and your brother. Read the pages of Mr. Edwards's late book, entitled, “Some Thoughts concerning the present Revival of Religion in NewEngland,' from 367 to 375; and when you judge of others, if you can perceive the fruit' to be good, don't terrify yourself that the tree may be evil; but be assured it is not so, for you know who has said, “Men do not gather grapes off thorns, and figs off thistles.' I have not time to add, but that I shall always be your affectionate brother,
“ B. FRANKLIN. « P.S.-It was not kind in you, when your sister commenced good works, to suppose she intended it a reproach to you. 'Twas very far from her thoughts."
" To Mr. George Whitefield.
Philadelphia, June 6, 1753.
“I received your kind letter of the 2d instant, and am glad to hear that you increase in strength; I hope you will continue mending till you recover your former health and firmness. Let me know whether you still use the cold bath, and what effect it has.
“As to the kindness you mention, I wish it could have been of more service to you. But if it had, the only thanks I should desire is, that you would always be equally ready to serve any other person that may need your assistance, and so let good offices go round; for mankind are all of a family.
“For my own part, when I am employed in serving others, I do not look upon myself as conferring favours, but as paying debts. In my travels and since my settlement, I have received much kindness from men to whom I shall never have an opportunity of making the least direct return, and numberless mercies from God, who is infinitely above being benefited by our services. Those kindnesses from men I can therefore only return on their fellow-men, and I can only show my gratitude for these mercies from God by a readiness to help his other children and my brethren. For I do not think that thanks and compliments, though repeated weekly, can discharge our real obligations to each other, and much less those to our Creator. You will see in this my notion of good works, that I am far from expecting to merit heaven by them. By heaven we understand a state of happiness infinite in degree and eternal in duration : I can do nothing to deserve such rewards. He that, for giving a draught of water to a thirsty person, should expect to be paid with a good plantation, would be modest in his demands compared with those who think they deserve heaven for the little good they do on earth. Even the mixed, imperfect pleasures we enjoy in this world are rather from God's goodness than our merit : how much more such happiness of heaven! For my part, I have not the vanity to think I deserve it, the folly to expect it, nor the ambition to desire it; but content myself in submitting to the will and disposal of that God who made me, who has hitherto preserved and blessed me, and in whose fatherly goodness I may well confide, that he will never make me miserable, and that even the afflictions I may at any time suffer shall tend to my benefit. "I wish you health and happiness.
" To Mrs. D. Franklin.
“ Guadenhathen, January 25, 1756. “ MY DEAR CHILD,
This day week we arrived here; I wrote to you the same day, and once since. We all continue well, thanks be to God. We have been hindered with bad weather, yet our fort is in a good defensible condition, and we have every day more convenient living. Two more are to be built, one on each side of this, at about fifteen miles' distance. I hope both will be done in a week or ten days, and then I purpose to bend my course homeward.
“We have enjoyed your roast beef, and this day began on the roast veal; all agree that they are both the best that ever were of the kind. Your citizens, that have their dinners hot and hot, know nothing of good eating ; we find it in much greater perfection when the kitchen is fourscore miles from the dining-room.
“ The apples are extremely welcome, and do bravely to eat after our salt pork; the minced pies are not yet come to hand, but suppose we shall find them among the things expected up from Bethlehem on Tuesday; the capillaire is excellent, but none of us having taken cold as yet, we have only tasted it.
“As to our lodging, 'tis on deal feather beds, in warm blankets, and much more comfortable than when we lodged at our inn the first night after we left home; for the woman being about to put very dainp sheets on the bed, we desired her to air them
half an hour afterward she told us the bed was ready and the sheets well aired. I got into bed, but jumped out immediately, finding them as cold as death, and partly frozen. She had aired them indeed, but it was out upon the hedge. I was forced to wrap myself up in my greatcoat and woollen