Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

1

to receive and embrace here the whole family. I thou dost not inquire rightly concerning that But it is too great a happiness to be expected. matter. This family all join with me in best wishes “But the inconsistence that strikes me the of every felicity to you and yours; and I re- most is that between the name of your city, main with an unalterable and great esteem Philadelphia, brotherly love, and the spirit of and affection, my dear friend, yours most sin- rancour, malice, and hatred that breathes in its cerely,

B. FRANKLIN." newspapers. For I learn from those papers,

that your state is divided into parties, that

each ascribes all the public operations of the To the Editors of the Pennsylvania Gazette. other to vicious motives; that they do not

even suspect one another of the smallest de“ Messrs. HALL AND SELLERS,—I lately gree of honesty; that the anti-federalists are heard a remark, that on examination of the such, merely from the fear of losing power, Pennsylvania Gazette for fifty years from its places, or emoluments which they have in commencement, it appeared that during that possession or in expectation; that the federallong period, scarce one libellous piece had ever ists are a set of conspirators, who aim at estaappeared in it. This generally chaste conduct blishing a tyranny over the persons and pro of your paper is much to its reputation; for it perty of their countrymen, and to live in has long been the opinion of sober, judicious splendour on the plunder of the people. I people, that nothing is more likely to endanger learn too that your justices of the peace, the liberty of the press, than the abuse of that though chosen by their neighbours, make a liberty, by employing it in personal accusation, villanous trade of their office, and promote detraction, and calumny. The excesses some discord to augment fees, and fleece their of our papers have been guilty of in this par- electors; and that this would not be mended ticular, have set this state in a bad light by placing the choice in the executive council, abroad, as appears by the following letter, who with interested or party views are conwhich I wish you to publish, not merely to tinually making as improper appointments; show your own disapprobation of the practice, witness a 'petty fiddler, sycophant, and but as a caution to others of the profession scoundrel appointed judge of the Admiralty; throughout the United States. For I have an old woman and fomenter of sedition to seen an European newspaper, in which the be another of the judges, and a Jeffries' editor, who had been charged with frequently chief justice, &c. &c.; with two harpies' calumniating the Americans, justifies himself the comptroller and naval officers to prey upon by saying, that he had published nothing the merchants and deprive them of their prodisgraceful to us, which he had not taken from perty by force of arms, &c. I am informed our own printed papers.'-I am, &c. also by these papers, that your general as

“ A. B." sembly, though the annual choice of the peo

ple shows no regard to their rights, but from sinister views or ignorance, makes laws in direct violation of the constitution, to divest

the inhabitants of their property, and give it “New YORK, March 30, 1788. to strangers and intruders; and that the * DEAR FRIEND,—My gout has at length council

, either fearing the resentment of their left me, after five months' painful confinement. constituents, or plotting to enslave them, had It afforded me however the leisure to read, or projected to disarm them, and given orders for hear read, all the packets of your newspapers that purpose ; and finally, that your president, which you so kindly sent for my amusement. the unanimous joint choice of the council and

“Mrs. W. has partaken of it; she likes to assembly, is an old rogue,' who gave his read the advertisements; but she remarks assent to the federal constitution, merely to some kind of inconsistency in the announcing avoid refunding money he had purloined from so many diversions for almost every evening the United States. There is indeed a good in the week, and such quantities to be sold of deal of manifest inconsistency in all this, and expensive superfluities, fineries, and luxuries yet a stranger seeing it in your own prints, just imported, in a country that at the same though he does not believe it all, may protatime fills its papers with complaints of hard bly believe enough of it to conclude that Penntimes and want of money. I tell her that sylvania is peopled by a set of the most un such complaints are common to all times and principled, wicked, rascally, and quarrelsome all countries, and were made even in Solo-scoundrels upon the face of the globe. I have mon's time; when, as we are told, silver was sometimes indeed suspected, that those papers as plenty in Jerusalem as the stones in the are the manufacture of foreign enemies among street, and vet even then, there were people you, who write with a view of disgracing your that grumbled, so as to incur this censure country, and making you appear contemptible from that knowing prince. Say not thou that and detestable all the world over: but then the former times were better than these; for I wonder at the indiscretion of your printers

* * * *

in publishing such writings! There is how- more than once for the same tax, makes the ever one of your inconsistencies that consoles trouble of collecting, in many cases, exceed me a little, which is, that though living you the value of the sum collected. Things that give one another the characters of devils; are practicable in one country are not always dead you are all angels! It is delightful so in another, where circumstances différ. when any of you die, to read what good hus- Our duties are however generally so small as bands, good fathers, good friends, good citi- to give little temptation to smuggling. zens, and good Christians you were, conclud- “ Believe me ever, my dear friend, yours ing with a scrap of poetry that places you, most affectionately, B. FRANKLIN." with certainty, every one in heaven. So that I think Pennsylvania a good country to die in, though a very bad one to live in.'

M. Dupont de Nemours, at Paris.

“PHILADELPHIA, June 9, 1788.

“ Sir,—I have received your favour of De" M. Veillard.

cember 31, with the extract of a letter which " PAILADELPHIA, April 22, 1788. you wish to have translated and published “MY DEAR FRIEND,– I received but a few here. But seven states having, before it ardays since your favour of November 30, 1787, rived, ratified the new constitution, and others in which you continue to urge me to finish being daily expected to do the same, after the the Memoirs. My three years of service will fullest discussion in convention, and in all the expire in October, when a new president must public papers, till every body was tired of the be chosen; and I had the project of retiring argument, it seemed too late to propose dethen to my grandson's villa in New Jersey, lay, and especially the delay that must be ocwhere I might be free from the interruption casioned by a revision and correction of all the of visits, in order to complete that work for separate constitutions. For it would take at your satisfaction; for in this city my time is least a year to convince thirteen states that so cut to pieces by friends and strangers, that the constitutions they have practised ever since I have sometimes envied the prisoners in the the revolution, without observing any imperbastile: but considering now the little rem- fections in them, so great as to be worth the nant of life I have left, the accidents that may trouble of amendment, are nevertheless so ill happen between this and October, and your formed as to be unfit for continuation, or to be earnest desire, I have come to a resolution to parts of a federal government. And when proceed in that work to-morrow, and continue they should be so convinced, it would probably it daily till finished, which if my health per- take some years more to make the connexions. mits, may be in the course of the ensuing An eighth state has since acceded, and when

As it goes on I will have a copy a ninth is added, which is now daily expected, made for you, and you may expect to receive the constitution will be carried into execution. a part by the next packet.

It is probable, however, that at the first meet*** It is very possible, as you suppose, that ing of the new congress, various amendments all the articles of the proposed new govern. will be proposed and discussed, when I hope ment will not remain unchanged after the first your Ouvrage sur les principes et le bien des meeting of the congress. I am of opinion republiques en general, &c. &c., may be with you, that the two chambers were not ready to put into their hands; and such a work necessary, and I disliked some other articles from your hand, I am confident, though it may that are in, and wished for some that are not not be entirely followed, will afford useful in the proposed plan; I nevertheless hope it hints, and produce advantages of importance. may be adopted, though I should have nothing But we must not expect that a new governto do with the execution of it, being deter- ment may be formed, as a game of chess may mined to quit all public business with my pre- be played, by a skilful hand, without a fault. sent employment. At 83 one certainly has a The players of our game are so many, their right to ambition repose.

ideas so different, their prejudices so strong * We are not ignorant, that the duties paid and so various, and their particular interests, at the custom-house on the importation of independent of the general, seeming so oppoforeign goods are finally reimbursed by the site, that not a move can be made that is not consumer, but we impose them as the easiest contested; the numerous objections confound way of levying a tax from those consumers. the understanding; the wisest must agree to If our new country was as closely inhabited some unreasonable things, that reasonable as your old one, we might without much dif- ones of more consequence may be obtained, and ficulty collect a land-tax, that would be suf- thus chance has its share in many of the deficient for all purposes: but where farms are terminations, so that the play is more like at five or six miles distant from each other, tric-trac with a box of dice. as they are in a great part of our country, “ We are much pleased with the disposition the going of the collectors from house to house of your government to favour our commerce, to demand the taxes, and being obliged to call manifested in the late réglement. You ap

summer.

pear to be possessed of a truth, which few go, whose conversation is instructive, whose vernments are possessed of, that A must take manners are highly pleasing, and who, above some of B's produce, otherwise B will not be all the nations in the world, have in the able to pay for what he would take of A. But greatest perfection the art of making them. there is one thing wanting to facilitate and selves beloved by strangers. And now, even augment our intercourse. It is a dictionary, in my sleep, I find, that the scenes of all my explaining the names of different articles of pleasant dreams are laid in that city, or in its manufacture, in the two languages. When I neighbourhood. was in Paris, I received a large order for a "I like much young M. Dupont. He apgreat variety of goods, particularly of the kind pears a very sensible and valuable man, and called hardwares, i. e. wares of iron and steel : I think his father will have a great deal of and when I showed the invoice to your manu- satisfaction in him. facturers, they did not understand what kinds “ Please present my thanks to M. Lavoi. of goods or instruments were meant by the sier for the Nomenclature Chimique he has names: nor could any English and French dic- been so good as to send me, it must be a tionary be found to explain them. So I sent useful book) and assure him of my great and to England for one of each sort, which might sincere esteem and attachment. My best serve both as explanation and as a model, wishes attend you both, and I think I cannot the latter being of importance likewise, since wish you and him greater happiness than a people are prejudiced in favour of forms they long continuance of the connexion.-With have been used to, though perhaps not the great regard and affection, I have the honour best. They cost me twenty-five guineas, but to be, my dear friend, your most obliged and were lost by the way, and the peace coming most obedient humble servant, on the scheme dropped. It would however,

“ B. FRANKLIN." as I imagine, be well worth receiving.

For our merchants say we still send to England for such goods as we want, because there they understand our orders, and can execute them

Dr. Ingenhauz. precisely.-With great esteem, I am, &c.

“ October 24, 1763 “B. FRANKLIN.'

“ You have always been kind enough to interest yourself in what relates to my health:

I ought therefore to acquaint you with what “ Madame Lavoisier.

appears to me something curious respecting “ PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 23, 1788. it: you may remember the cutaneous malady, “ I Have a long time been disabled from I formerly complained of, and for which you writing to my dear friend, by a severe fit of and Dr. Pringle favoured me with prescripthe gout, or I should sooner have returned my tions and advice. It vexed me near fourteen thanks for her very kind present of the por- years, and was, the beginning of this year, as trait, which she has herself done me the ho- | bad as ever, covering almost my whole body nour to make of me. It is allowed by those who except my face and hands: when a fit of the have seen it to have great merit as a picture gout came on, without very much pain, but in every respect; but what particularly en- a swelling in both feet, which at last appeardears it to me is the hand that drew it. Our ed also in both knees; and then in my hands. English enemies, when they were in posses. As these swellings increased and extended, sion of this city and my house, made a pri- the other malady diminished, and at length soner of my portrait, and carried it off with disappeared entirely. Those swellings have them, leaving that of its companion, my wife, some time since begun to fall, and are now by itself, a kind of widow. You have replaced almost gone; perhaps the cutaneous may rethe husband, and the lady seems to smile as turn, or perhaps it is worn out. I may herewell pleased.

after let you know what happens. I am on “li is true, as you observe, that I enjoy the whole much weaker than when it began here every thing that a reasonable mind can to leave me. But possibly that may be the desire, a sufficiency of income, a comfortable effect of age, for I am now near 83, the age habitation of my own building, having all the of commencing decrepitude. conveniences I could imagine; a dutiful af- “ I grieve at the wars Europe is engaged fectionate daughter to nurse and take care of in, and wish they were ended; for I fear even me, a number of promising grandchildren, the victors will be the losers. some old friends still remaining to converse

“ B. FRANKLIN." with, and more respect, distinction, and public honours than I can possibly merit; these “P.S. Our public affairs are drawing to are the blessings of God, and depend on his wards a settlement. I have served out the continued goodness: yet all do not make me three years term of my presidentship, limited forget Paris and the nine years' happiness I by the constitution; and being determined to enjoyed there, in the sweet society of people, engage no more in public business, I hope, if

health permits, to be a better correspondent. This, however, nations seldom do, and we have We have no philosophical news here at pre- had frequent instances of their spending more sent, except that a boat moved by a steam money in wars for acquiring or securing engine, rows itself against tide in our river, branches of commerce, than an hundred years' and it is apprehended the construction may profit or the full enjoyment of them can combe so simplified and improved as to become pensate. generally useful."

“ Remember me affectionately to good Dr. Price and to the honest heretic Dr. Priestley.

I do not call him honest by way of distinction; “ B. Vaughan.

for I think all the heretics I have known have

“October 24, 1788. been virtuous men. They have the virtue of “ Having now finished my term in the pre- fortitude, or they would not venture to own sidentship, and resolving to engage no more their heresy; and they cannot afford to be in public affairs, I hope to be a better corres- deficient in any of the other virtues, as that pondent for the little time I have to live. I would give advantage to their many enemies; am recovering from a long continued gout, and they have not like orthodox sinners, such and am diligently employed in writing the a number of friends to excuse or justify them. History of my Life, to the doing of which the Do not, however, mistake me. It is not to persuasions contained in your letter of January my good friend's heresy that I impute his 31, 1783, have not a little contributed. I am honesty. On the contrary, 'tis his honesty now in the year 1756, just before I was sent that has brought upon him the character of to England. To shorten the work, as well as

heretic.

B. FRANKLIN." 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

Mrs. Partridge. example, and my success in emerging from

" PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 25, 1788. poverty, and acquiring some degree of wealth, “MY DEAR CHILD,—I received your kind power, and reputation, the advantages of cer- letter of the 12th instant, enclosing one for tain modes of conduct which I observed, and Mr. Philip Vanhorn, physician in Philadelphia, of avoiding the errors which were prejudicial which you desired me to deliver, and to solicit to me. If a writer can judge properly of his the forgiveness of his daughter. I immeown work, I fancy on reading over what is al- diately made inquiry for him, as to be instruready done, that the book may be found enter- mental in so charitable a work, and in concurtaining, interesting, and useful, more so than rence with you, would have given me great I expected when began it. If my present pleasure: but I am assured by our oldest instate of health continues, I hope to finish it habitants, who have had most acquaintance this winter : when done, you shall have a ma- and best opportunities of knowing their felnuscript copy of it, that I may obtain from low-citizens, particularly some of our physiyour judgment and friendship such remarks cians, that no physician or other person of that as may contribute to its improvement. name has ever been a resident here: so that

“ The violence of our party debates about there must have been some mistake in the the new constitution seems much abated, in- information that has been given you, if indeed deed almost extinct, and we are getting fast the whole story is not an imposition. into good order. I kept out of those disputes “You kindly inquire after my health; I pretty well, having wrote only one piece, have not of late much reason to boast of it. which I send you enclosed.

People that will live a long life and drink to “I regret the immense quantity of misery the bottom of the cup must expect to meet brought upon mankind by this Turkish war'; with some of the dregs. However, when I and I am afraid the king of Sweden may burn consider how many more terrible maladies his fingers by attacking Russia. When will the human body is liable to, I think myself princes learn arithmetic enough to calculate, well off that I have only three incurable ones, if they want pieces of one another's territory, the gout, the stone, and old age. And those how much cheaper it would be to buy them notwithstanding, I enjoy many comfortable than to make war for them, even though they intervals, in which I forget all my ills, and were to give an hundred years' purchase; but amuse myself in reading or writing, or in if glory cannot be valued, and therefore the conversation with friends, joking, laughing, wars for it cannot be subject to arithmetical and telling merry stories, as when you first calculation, so as to show their advantages or knew me, a young man about fifty. disadvantage; at least wars for trade, which My children and grandchildren, the have gain for their object, may be proper sub- Baches, are all well and pleased with your re

jects for such computation, and a trading membrance of them. They are my family, nation as well as a single trader ought to cal- living in my house, and we have lately the adeulate the probabilities of profit and loss, be- dition of a little good-natured girl, whom I before engaging in any considerable adventure. gin to love as well as the rest.

[ocr errors]

“ You tell me our poor friend Ben Kent is ing a dispute that happened between queen gone, I hope to the regions of the blessed; or Anne and the archbishop of Canterbury conat least to some place where souls are pre- cerning a vacant mitre, which the queen was pared for those regions ! I found my hope on for bestowing on a person the archbishop this, that though not so orthodox as you and thought unworthy, made both the queen and I, he was an honest man, and had his virtues. the archbishop swear three or four thumping If he had any hypocrisy, it was of that invert- oaths in every sentence of the discussion; and ed kind, with which a man is not so bad as the archbishop at last gained his point. One he seems to be. And with regard to future present at the tale being surprised, said, But bliss, I cannot help imagining that multitudes did the queen and the archbishop swear so at of the zealously orthodox of different sects, une another ? O! no, no, said the relator; who at the last day may flock together, in that is only my way of telling the story hopes of seeing each other damned, will be Yours, &c.

B. FRANKLIN." disappointed, and obliged to rest content with their own salvation. “ You have no occasion to apologize for your

“ To the President of Congress. former letter. It was, as all yours are, very

" PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 29, 1708 well written. That which is enclosed for your “Sir,—When I had the honour of being cousin came too late, he being sailed. the minister of the United States at the court

“ By one of the accidents which war occa- of France, Mr. Barclay arriving there, brought sions, all my books containing copies of my me the following resolution of congress : letters were lost. There were eight volumes, • Resolved, that a commissioner be appointed by conand I have been able to recover only two. gress with full power and authority to liquidate and Those are of later date than the transaction United States, who have been intrusted with the ex you mention, and therefore can contain no- penditure of public money in Europe, and to commence thing relating to it. If the letter you want a and prosecute such suits, causes, and actions as may

be necessary for that purpose, or for the recovery of any copy of, was one in which I consoled my bro- property of the said United States in the hands of any ther's friends, by a comparison drawn from a person or persons whatsoever.

* That the said commissioner be authorized to ap party of pleasure intended into the country, point one or more clerks, with such allowance as he where we were all to meet, though the chair may think reasonable. of one being soonest ready, he set out before take an oath, before some person duly authorized to

That the said commissioner and clerks respectively the rest: I say if this was the letter, I fancy administer an oath, faithfully to execute the trust reyou may possibly find it in Boston, as I re- posed in them respectively. member Dr. Billis once wrote me that many er, and ballots being taken, Mr. T. Barclay was elect

*Congress proceeded to the election of a commissioncopies had been taken of it.

“ I too should have been glad to have seen “In pursuance of this resolution, and as that again, among others I have written to soon as Mr. Barclay was at leisure from more him and you. But you inform me they were pressing business, I rendered to him all my devoured by the mice, poor little innocent accounts, which he examined and stated me creatures, I am very sorry they had no better thodically. By his statements he found a bafood. But since they like my letters, here is lance due to me on the 4th May 1785, of 7533 another treat for them.-Adieu, ma chere livres, 19 sols, 3 deniers, which I according. enfant, and believe me ever, your affectionately received of the congress banker; the difuncle,

B. FRANKLIN." ference between my statement and his be

ing only seven sols, which by mistake I had overcharged, about three pence halfpenny

sterling. “ Mrs. Mecom, Boston.*

“At my request, however, the accounts "PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 26, 1788. were left open for the consideration of con"I NEVER

see any Boston newspapers. gress, and not finally settled, there being some You mention there being often something in articles on which I desired their

judgment, and them to do me honour. lam obliged to them. having some equitable demands, as I thought On the other hand, some of our papers here them, for extra services, which he had not are endeavouring to disgrace me.

I have conceived himself impowered to allow, and long been accustomed to receive more blame therefore I did not put them in my account. as well as more praise than I have deserved. He transmitted the accounts to congress, and 'Tis the lot of every public man. And I leave had advice of their being received. On my one account to balance the other.

arrival at Philadelphia, one of the first things “ As you observe, there was nod

I did was to despatch my grandson W. T. souls in the story of the poker when I told Franklin to New York, to obtain a final set. it. The late dresser of it was probably the tlement of those accounts, he having long actsame, or perhaps of kin to him, who in relat- ed as my secretary, and being well acquaint

ed with the transactions, was able to give an • Dr. Franklin's sister Jane.

explanation of the articles, that might seem

ed.

-n your

« AnteriorContinuar »