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Wherever I am, I hope always to retain the pleasing remembrance of your friendship; being with sincere and great esteem, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, B. FRANKLIN.



Philadelphia, March 16, 1786. I received and read with great pleasure your kind letter of October 9. It informed me of your welfare, and that of the best of good women, and of her amiable daughter, who I think will tread in her steps. My effects came all in the same ship, in good order; and we are now drinking every day les eaux épurées de Passy with great satisfaction, as they kept well, and seem to be rendered more agreeable by the long voyage. I am here in the bosom of my family, and am not only happy myself, but have the felicity of seeing my country so. Be assured that all the stories spread in the English papers of our distresses, and confusions, and discontents with our new governments, are as chimerical as the history of my being in chains at Algiers. They exist only in the wishes of our enemies. America never was in higher prosperity, her produce abundant and bearing a good price, her working people all employed and well paid, and all property in lands and houses of more than treble the value it bore before the war; and our commerce being no longer the monopoly of British merchants, we are furnished with all the foreign commodities we need, at much more reasonable rates than heretofore. So that we have no doubt of being able to discharge more speedily the debt incurred by the war than at first was apprehended. Our modes of collecting taxes are indeed

as yet imperfect, and we have need of more skill in financiering; but we improve in that kind of knowledge daily by experience. That our people are contented with the revolution, with their new constitutions, and their foreign connexions, nothing can afford a stronger proof than the universally cordial and joyous reception with which they welcomed the return of one that was supposed to have had a considerable share in promoting them. All this is in answer to that part of your letter in which you seem to have been too much impressed with some of the ideas which those lying English papers endeavor to inculcate concerning us.

I am astonished by what you write concerning the Prince Evêque.* If the charges against him are made good, it will be another instance of the truth of those proverbs which teach us, that prodigality begets necessity; that without economy no revenue is sufficient; and that it is hard for an empty sack to stand upright.

Will you also be so good as to present my respectful compliments to Madame la Duchesse d'Enville, and to M. le Duc de la Rochefoucault? You may communicate the political part of this letter to that excellent man. His good heart will rejoice to hear of the welfare of America.

I made no progress when at sea in the history you mention:† but I was not idle there, having written three pieces, each of some length: one on nautical matters; another on chimnies; and a third a description of my vase for consuming smoke, with directions

*The Cardinal de Rohan.

+ Dr. Franklin's Memoirs of his Life.

for using it.* These are all now printing in the Transactions of our Philosophical Society, of which I hope soon to send you a copy.

You know my situation, involved in public cares; but they cannot make me forget that you and I love one another, and that I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, B. FRANKLIN.



Philadelphia, May 6, 1786. A long winter has passed and I have not had the pleasure of a line from you, acquainting me with your and your children's welfare, since I left England. I suppose you have been in Yorkshire out of the way and knowledge of opportunities; for I will not think you have forgotten me. To make me some amends, I received a few days past a large packet from Mr. Williams, dated September, 1776, near ten years since, containing three letters from you, one of December 12, 1775. This packet had been received by Mr. Bache after my departure for France, lay dormant among his papers during all my absence, and has just now broke out upon me like words, that had been, as somebody said, congealed in northern air." Therein I find all the pleasing little family history of your children; how William had begun to spell, overcoming by strength of memory all the difficulty occasioned by the common wretched alphabet; while you were convinced of the utility of our new one. How Tom, genius-like, struck out new paths, and relinquishing the old names of the letters, called U Bell and P Bottle. How Eliza began to grow


* See Writings, Part IV. Papers on Philosophical Subjects.

jolly, that is fat and handsome, resembling Aunt Rook, whom I used to call my lovely; together with all the then news of Lady Blunt's having produced at length a boy; of Dolly's being well, and of poor good Catherine's decease. Of your affairs with Muir and Atkinson, and of their contract for feeding the fish in the channel. Of the Vinys, and their jaunt to Cambridge in the long carriage. Of Dolly's journey to Wales with Mr. Scot. Pearces, Elphinston, &c. &c. kind of promise, that as soon congress agreed to make peace, I should have you with me in America. That peace has been some time made, but, alas! the promise is not yet fulfilled. -And why is it not fulfilled?

Of the Wilkes's, the

Concluding with a as the ministry and

I have found my family here in health, good circumstances, and well respected by their fellowcitizens. The companions of my youth are indeed almost all departed, but I find an agreeable society among their children and grand-children. I have public business enough to preserve me from ennui, and private amusement besides, in conversation, books, my garden, and cribbage. Considering our well-furnished plentiful market as the best of gardens, I am turning mine, in the midst of which my house. stands, into grass-plats, and gravel walks, with trees and flowering shrubs. Cards we sometimes play here in long winter evenings, but it is as they play at chess, not for money but for honor, or the pleasure of beating one another. This will not be quite a novelty to you; as you may remember we played together in that manner during the winter you helped me to pass so agreeably at Passy. I have indeed now and then à little compunction in reflecting that

I spend time so idly; but another reflection comes to relieve me, whispering, "You know the soul is immortal; why then should you be such a niggard of a little time, when you have a whole eternity before you?" So being easily convinced, and, like other reasonable creatures, satisfied with a small reason, when it is in favor of doing what I have a mind to do, I shuffle the cards again and begin another game.

As to public amusements, we have neither plays nor operas, but we had yesterday a kind of oratorio, as you will see by the enclosed paper; and we have assemblies, balls, and concerts, besides little parties at one another's houses, in which there is sometimes dancing, and frequently good music; so that we jog on in life as pleasantly as you do in England, any where but in London; for there you have plays performed by good actors. That however is, I think, the only advantage London has over Philadelphia.

Temple has turned his thoughts to agriculture, which he pursues ardently, being in possession of a fine farm that his father lately conveyed to him. Ben is finishing his studies at college, and continues to behave as well as when you knew him, so that I still think he will make you a good son. His younger brothers and sisters are also all promising, appearing to have good tempers and dispositions, as well as good constitutions. As to myself, I think my general health and spirits rather better than when you saw me, and the particular malady I then complained of, continues tolerable. With sincere and very great esteem, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, B. FRANKLIN.

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