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me to mention one little instance, which, though it relates to myself, will not be quite uninteresting to you. When I was a boy I met with a book entitled Essays to do Good, which I think was written by your father. It had been so little regarded by a former possessor, that several leaves of it were, torn out : but the remainder gave me such a turn of thinking as to have an influence on my conduct through life; for I have always set a greater value on the character of a doer of good, than on any other kind of reputation; and if I have been, as you seem to think, a useful citizen, the public owes the advantage of it to that book. You mention your being in your 78th year: I am in my 79th; we are grown old together. It is now more than sixty years since I left Boston, but I remember well both your father and grandfather, having heard them both in the pulpit, and seen them in their houses. The last time I saw your father was in the beginning of 1724, when I visited him after my first trip to Pennsylvania. He received me in his library, and on my taking leave showed me a shorter way out of the house through a narrow passage, which crossed by a beam over head. We were still talking as I withdrew, he accompanying me behind, and I turning partly towards him, when he said hastily, Stoop, stoop! I did not understand him till I felt my head hit against the beam. He was a man that never missed any occasion of giving instruction, and upon this he said to me, You are young, and have the world before you ; stoop as you go through it, and you will miss many hard thumps. This advice, thus beat into my head, has frequently been of use to me; and I often think of it when I see pride mortified, and misfortunes brought upon people by their carrying their heads too high.
* Í long much to see again my native place, and to lay my bones there. I left it in 1723; I visited it in 1733, 1743, 1753, and 1763. In 1773 I was in
England; in 1775 I had a sight of it, but could not enter, it being in possession of the enemy. I did hope to have been there in 1783, but could not obtain my dismission from this employment here ; and now I fear I shall never have that happiness. My best wishes, however, attend my dear country. Esto perpelua. It is now blessed with an excellent constitution ; may it last for ever!
“With great and sincere esteem, I have the honour to be, &c.;
“ To William Strahan, M. P.
“ Passy, August 19, 1784. “DEAR FRIEND, “ I received your kind letter of April 17. You will have the goodness to place my delay in answering to the account of indisposition and business, and excuse it. I have now that letter before me; and my grandson, whom you may formerly remember a little scholar at Mr. Elphinston's, purposing to set out in a day or two on a visit to his faiher in London, I sit down to scribble a little to you, first recommending him as a worthy young man to your civilities and counsels.
“ You press me much to come to England. I am not without strong inducements to do so; the fund of knowledge you promise to communicate to me is, in addition to them, no small one. At present it is impracticable. But when my grandson returns, come with himn. We will talk the matter over, and perhaps you may take me back with you. I have a bed at your service, and will try to make your residence, while you can stay with us, as agreeable to you, if possible, as I am sure it will be to me.
“You do not approve the annihilation of profitable places; for you do not see why a statesman who does his business well should not be paid for his la
bour as well as any other workman.' Agreed. But why more than any other workman? The less the salary the greater the honour. In so great a nation there are many rich enough to afford giving their time to the public; and there are, I make no doubt, many wise and able men who would take as much 7 pleasure in governing for nothing, as they do in playing of chess for nothing. It would be one of the noblest amusements. That this opinion is not chimerical, the country I now live in affords a proof; its whole civil and criminal law administration being done for nothing, or, in some sense, for less than nothing, since the members of its judicie ary parliaments buy their places, and do not make more than three per cent. for their money by their fees and emoluments, while the legal interest is five; so that, in fact, they give two per cent. to be allowed to govern, and all their time and trouble into the bargain. Thus profit, one motive for desiring place, being abolished, there remains only ambition; and that being in some degree balanced by loss, you may easily conceive that there will not be very violent factions and contentions for such places; nor much of the mischief to the country that attends your factions, which have often occasioned wars, and overloaded you with debts impayable.
“I allow you all the force of your joke upon the vagrancy of our Congress. They have a right to sit where they please, of which, perhaps, they have made too much use by shifting too often. But they have two other rights; those of sitting when they please and as long as they please, in which, me. thinks, they have the advantage of your Parliament; for they cannot be dissolved by the breath of a minister, or sent packing, as you were the other day, when it was your earnest desire to have remained longer together.
“You ‘fairly acknowledge that the late war ter
minated quite contrary to your expectation. Your expectation was ill-founded; for you would not believe your old friend, who told you repeatedly, that by those measures England would lose her colonies, as Epictetus warned in vain his master that he would break his leg. You believed rather the tales you heard of our poltroonery and impotence of body and mind. Do you not remember the story you told me of the Scotch sergeant who met with a party of forty American soldiers, and, though alone, disarmed them all and brought them in prisoners? a story almost as improbable as that of an Irishman, who pretended to have alone taken and brought in five of the enemy by surrounding them. And yet, my friend, sensible and judicious as you are, but partaking of the general infatuation, you seemed to believe it. The word general puts me in mind of a general, your General Clarke, who had the folly to say in my hearing, at Sir John Pringle's, that with a thousand British grenadiers he would undertake to go from one end of America to the other, and geld all the males, partly by force and partly by a little coaxing. It is plain he took us for a species of animals very little superior to brutes. The Parliament, too, believed the stories of another foolish general, I forget his name, that the Yankees never felt bold. Yankee was understood to be a sort of Yahoo, and the Parliament did not think the petitions of such creatures were fit to be received and read in so wise an assembly. What was the consequence of this monstrous pride and insolence ? You first sent small armies to subdue us, believing them more than sufficient, but soon found yourselves obliged to send greater; these, whenever they ventured to penetrate our country beyond the protection of their ships, were ether repulsed and obliged to scamper out, or were surrounded, beaten, and taken prisoners. An American planter, who had never seen Europe, was chosen by us to command our troops, and continued during the whole war. This man sent home to you, one after another, five of your best generals baffled, their heads bare of laurels, disgraced even in the opinion of their employers. Your contempt of our understandings, in comparison with your own, appeared to be much better founded than that of our courage, if we may judge by this circumstance, that in whatever court of Europe a Yankee negotiator appeared, the wise British minister was routed, put in a passion, picked a quarrel with your friends, and was sent home with a flea in his ear. But, after all, my dear friend, do not imagine that I am vain enough to ascribe our success to any superiority in any of those points. I am too well'acquainted with all the springs and levers of our machine not to see that our human means were unequal to our undertaking, and that, if it had not been for the justice of our cause, and the consequent interposition of Providence, in which we had faith, we must have been ruined. If I had ever before been an Atheist, I should now have been convinced of the being and government of a Deity! It is he that abases the proud and favours the humble. May we never forget his goodness to us, and may our future conduct manifest our grati. tude!
“But let us leave these serious reflections and converse with our usual pleasantry. I remember your observing once to me, as we sat together in the House of Commons, that no two journeymen printers within your knowledge had met with such success in the world as ourselves.' You were then at the head of your profession, and soon afterward became member of Parliament. I was an agent for a few provinces, and now act for them all. But we have risen by different modes. I, as a republican printer, always liked a form well planed down; being averse to those overbearing letters that hold their heads so high as to hinder their neighbours from ap