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TO DR. BANCROFT, F. R. s. &c. LONDON. DEAR SIR, Philadelphia, Nov. 26, 1785.

I received your kind letter of September 5, informing me of the intention Mr. Dilly has of printing a new edition of my writings, and of his desire that I would furnish him with such additions as I may think proper. At present all my papers and manuscripts are so mixt with other things, by the confusions occasioned in sudden and various removals

during the late troubles, that I can hardly find any thing. But having nearly finished an addition to my house, which will afford me room to put all in order, I hope soon to be able to comply with such a request; but I hope Mr. Dilly will have a good understanding in the affair with Henry and Johnson, who having risked the former impressions, may suppose they thereby acquired some right in the copy. As to the life proposed to be written, if it be by the same hand who furnished a sketch to Dr. Lettsom, which he sent me, I am afraid it will be found too full of errors for either you or me to correct: and having been persuaded by my friends, Messrs. Vaughan and Monsieur Le Veillard, Mr. James of this place, and some others, that such a life, written by myself, may be useful to the rising generation, I have made some progress in it, and hope to finish it this winter; so I cannot but wish that project of Mr. Dilly's biographer may be laid aside. I am nevertheless thankful to you for your friendly offer of correcting it.

As to public affairs, it is long since I gave over all expectations of a commercial treaty between us and Britain; and I think we can do as well, or better without one than she can. Our harvests are plenty, our produce fetches a high price in hard money, and

there is in every part of our country incontestable marks of public felicity. We discover, indeed, some errors in our general and particular constitutions, which it is no wonder they should have, the time in which they were formed being considered. But these we shall soon mend. The little disorders you have heard of in some of the states, raised by a few wrong heads, are subsiding, and will probably soon be extinguished. My best wishes and those of my family attend you. We shall be happy to see you here, when it suits you to visit us; being with sincere and great esteem, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, B. FRANKLIN.


Philadelphia, Feb. 24, 1786.

I received lately your kind letter of November 27. My reception here was, as you have heard, very honorable indeed; but I was betrayed by it and by some remains of ambition, from which I had imagined myself free, to accept of the chair of government for the state of Pennsylvania, when the proper thing for me was repose and a private life. I hope however to be able to bear the fatigue for one year, and then to retire.

I have much regretted our having so little opportunity for conversation when we last met.* You could have given me informations and counsels that I wanted; but we were scarce a minute together without being broken in upon. I am to thank you however for the pleasure I had after our parting, in

At Southampton, previous to Dr. Franklin's embarking for the United States. See Memoirs of his Life, Part iv. p. 372, 4to ed.

reading the new book* you gave me, which I think generally well written and likely to do good; though the reading time of most people is of late so taken up with newspapers and little periodical pamphlets, that few now-a-days venture to attempt reading a quarto volume. I have admired to see that in the last century a folio, Burton on Melancholy, went through six editions in about forty years. We have, I believe, more readers now, but not of such large books.

You seem desirous of knowing what progress we make here in improving our governments. We are I think in the right road of improvement, for we are making experiments. I do not oppose all that seem wrong, for the multitude are more effectually set right by experience, than kept from going wrong by reasoning with them: and I think we are daily more and more enlightened; so that I have no doubt of our obtaining in a few years as much public felicity as good government is capable of affording. Your newspapers are filled with fictitious accounts of anarchy, confusion, distresses and miseries we are supposed to be involved in, as consequences of the revolution; and the few remaining friends of the old government among us take pains to magnify every little inconvenience a change in the course of commerce may have occasioned. To obviate the complaints they endeavor to excite, was written the enclosed little piece,† from which you may form a truer idea of our own situation than your own public prints would give you and I can assure you that the great body of our nation find themselves happy

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in the change, and have not the smallest inclination to return to the domination of Britain. There could

not be a stronger proof of the general approbation of the measures that promoted the change, and of the change itself, than has been given by the assembly and council of this state, in the nearly unanimous choice for their governor, of one who had been so much concerned in those measures; the assembly being themselves the unbribed choice of the people, and therefore may be truly supposed of the same sentiments. I say nearly unanimous, because of between 70 and 80 votes, there were only my own and one other in the negative.

As to my domestic circumstances, of which you kindly desire to hear something, they are at present as happy as I could wish them. I am surrounded by my offspring, a dutiful and affectionate daughter in my house, with six grandchildren, the eldest of which you have seen, who is now at college in the next street, finishing the learned part of his education; the others promising both for parts and good dispositions. What their conduct may be when they grow up and enter the important scenes of life, I shall not live to see, and I cannot foresee. I therefore enjoy among them the present hour, and leave the future to Providence.

He that raises a large family does indeed, while he lives to observe them, stand, as Watts says, a broader mark for sorrow; but then he stands a broader mark for pleasure too. When we launch our little fleet of barks into the ocean, bound to different ports, we hope for each a prosperous voyage; but contrary winds, hidden shoals, storms and enemies, come in for a share in the disposition of events; and



though these occasion a mixture of disappointment; yet, considering the risk where we can make no insurance, we should think ourselves happy if some return with success. My son's son, (Temple Franklin,) whom you have also seen, having had a fine farm of 600 acres conveyed to him by his father when we were at Southampton, has dropped for the present his views of acting in the political line, and applies himself ardently to the study and practice of agriculture. This is much more agreeable to me, who esteem it the most useful, the most independent, and therefore the noblest of employments. His lands are on navigable water, communicating with the Delaware, and but about sixteen miles from this city. He has associated to himself a very skilful English farmer lately arrived here, who is to instruct him in the business, and partakes for a term of the profits; so that there is a great apparent probability of their success. You will kindly expect a word or two concerning myself. My health and spirits continue, thanks to God, as when you saw me. The only complaint I then had does not grow worse, and is tolerable. I still have enjoyment in the company of my friends; and, being easy in my circumstances, have many reasons to like living. But the course of nature must soon put a period to my present mode of existence. This I shall submit to with less regret, as, having seen during a long life a good deal of this world, I feel a growing curiosity to be acquainted with some other; and can cheerfully with filial confidence resign my spirit to the conduct of that great and good parent of mankind who created it, and who has so graciously protected and prospered me from my birth to the present hour.

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