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Thus, when I consider how many terrible diseases the human body is liable to, I comfort myself that only three incurable ones have fallen to my share, the gout, the stone, and old age; and that these have not yet deprived me of my natural cheersulness, my delight in books, and enjoyment of social conversation.
“I am glad to hear that Mr. Fitzmaurice is married, and has an amiable lady and children. It is a better plan than that he once proposed, of getting Mrs. Wright to make him a waxwork wife to sit at the head of his table.' For, after all, wedlock is the natural state of man. À bachelor is not a complete human being. He is like the odd half of a pair of scissors, which has not yet found its fellow, and, therefore, is not even half so useful as they might be together.
“I hardly know which to admire most, the wonderful discoveries made by Herschel, or the indefatigable ingenuity by which he has been enabled to make them. Let us hope, my friend, that, when free from these bodily embarrassments, we may roam together through some of the systems he has explored, conducted by some of our old companions already acquainted with them. Hawkesworth will enliven our progress with his cheerful, sensible converse, and Stanley accompany the music of the spheres.
“Mr. Watraaugh tells me, for I immediately inquired after her, that your daughter is alive and well. I remember her a most promising and beautiful child, and therefore do not wonder that she is grown, as he says, a fine woman.
“God bless her and you, my dear friend, and everything that pertains to you, is the sincere prayer of yours most affectionately,
“ In his 82d year."
" To Miss Hubbard. “I condole with you. We have lost a most dear and valuable relation. But it is the will of God and nature that these mortal bodies be laid aside, when the soul is to enter into real life. This is rather an embryo state, a preparation for living. A man is not completely born until he be dead. Why, then, should we grieve that a new child is born among the immortals, a new member added to their happy society? We are spirits. That bodies should be lent us while they can afford us pleasure, to assist us in acquiring knowledge, or doing good to our fellow-creatures, is a kind and benevolent act of God. When they become unfit for these purposes,
and afford us pain instead of pleasure, instead of an aid become an encumbrance, and answer none of the intentions for which they were given, it is equally kind and benevolent that a way is provided by which we may get rid of them. Death is that way. We ourselves, in some cases, prudently choose a partial death. A mangled, painful limb, which cannot be restored, we willingly cut off. He who plucks out a tooth, parts with it freely, since the pain goes with it; and he who quits the whole body, parts at once with all pains, and possibilities of pains and diseases it was liable to, or capable of making him suffer.
" Our friend and we were invited abroad on a party of pleasure which is to last for ever. His chair was ready first, and he is gone before us. We could not all conveniently start together; and why should you and I be grieved at this, since we are soon to follow, and know where to find him ? Adieu,
“ To George Wheatley.
“ Philadelphia, May 18, 1787. “I received duly my good old friend's letter of the 19th of February. I thank you much for your notes on banks; they are just and solid, as far as I can judge of them. Our bank here has met with great opposition, partly from envy, and partly from those who wish an emission of more paper money, which they think the bank influence prevents. But it has stood all attacks, and went on well, notwithstanding the Assembly repealed its charter. A new Assembly has restored it, and the management is so prudent that I have no doubt of its continuing to go on well: the dividend has never been less than six per cent., nor will that be augmented for some time, as the surplus profit is reserved to face accidents. The dividend of eleven per cent., which was once made, was from a circumstance scarce unavoidable.
A new company was proposed, and prevented only by admitting a number of new part
As many of the first set were averse to this and chose to withdraw, it was necessary to settle their accounts; so all were adjusted, the profits shared that had been accumulated, and the new and old proprietors jointly began on a new and equal footing. Their notes are always instantly paid on demand, and pass on all occasions as readily as silver, because they will produce silver.
“ Your medallion is in good company; it is placed with those of Lord Chatham, Lord Camden, Marquis of Rockingham, Sir George Saville, and some others who honoured me with a show of friendly regard when in England. I believe I have thanked you for it, but I thank you again.
I believe with you, that if our plenipo. is desirous of concluding a treaty of commerce, he may need patience. If I were in his place and not otherwise instructed, I should be apt to say take your
own time, gentlemen.' If the treaty cannot be made as inuch to your advantage as ours, don't make it. I am sure the want of it is not inore to . our disadvantage than to yours. Let the nierchants on both sides treat with one another. Laissez les faire.
“I have never considered attentively the Congress's scheme for coining, and I have it not now at hand, so that at present I can say nothing to it. The chief uses of coining seem to be the ascertaining the fineness of the metals, and saving the time that would otherwise be spent in weighing to ascertain the quantity. But the convenience of fixed values to pieces is so great as to force the currency of some whose stamp is worn off, that should have assured their fineness, and which are evidently not of half their due weight; the case at present with the sixpences in England, which, one with another, do not weigh threepence.
“ You are now 78, and I am 82 ; you tread fast upon my heels; but, though you have more strength and spirit, you cannot come up with me until I stop, which must now be soon; for I am grown so old as to have buried most of the friends of my youth; and I now often hear persons whom I knew when children, called old Mr. Such-a-one, to distinguish them from their sons, now men grown and in business; so that, by living twelve years beyond David's period, I seem to have intruded myself into the company of posterity when I ought to have been abed and asleep. Yet, had I gone at seventy, it would have cut off twelve of the most active years of my life, employed, too, in matters of the greatest importance; but whether I have been doing good or mischief is for time to discover. I only know that I intended well, and I hope all will end well.
“Be so good as to present my affectionate respects to Dr. Riley. I am under great obligations to him, and shall write to him shortly. It will be a
pleasure to him to know that my malady does not grow sensibly worse, and that is a great point; for it has always been so tolerable as not to prevent my enjoying the pleasures of society, and being cheerful in conversation ; I owe this in a great measure to his good counsels.
“ B. FRANKLIN."
“ B. Vaughan.
“ October 24, 1788. “Having now finished my term in the presidentship, and resolving to engage no more in public affairs, I hope to be a better correspondent for the little time I have to live. I am recovering from a long-continued gout, and am diligently employed in writing the History of my Life, to the doing of which the persuasions contained in your letter of January 31, 1783, have not a little contributed. I am now in the year 1756, just before I was sent to England. To shorten the work, as well as for other reasons, I omit all facts and transactions that may not have a tendency to benefit the young reader, by showing him from my example, and my success in emerging from poverty, and acquiring some degree of wealth, power, and reputation, the advantages of certain modes of conduct which I observed, and of avoiding the errors which were prejudicial to me. If a writer can judge properly of his own work, I fancy, on reading over what is already done, that the book may be found entertaining and useful, more so than I expected when I began it. If my present state of health continues, I hope to finish it this winter: when done, you shall have a manuscript copy of it, that I may obtain from your judgment and friendship such remarks as may contribute to its improvement.
“ The violence of our party debates about the