Imágenes de páginas

ambassador of Spain, the much esteemed present your most serene highness hath so kindly sent me, of your excellent version of Sallust.

I am extremely sensible of the honor done me, and beg you would accept my thankful acknowledgments. I wish I could send hence any American literary production worthy of your perusal; but as yet the muses have scarcely visited these remote regions. Perhaps, however, the proceedings of our American congress, just published, may be a subject of some curiosity at your court. I therefore take the liberty of sending your highness a copy, with some other papers which contain accounts of the successes wherewith Providence has lately favored us. Therein your wise politicians may contemplate the first efforts of a rising state, which seems likely soon to act a part of some importance on the stage of human affairs, and furnish materials for a future Sallust. I am very old, and can scarce hope to see the event of this great contest: but looking forward, I think I see a powerful dominion growing up here, whose interest it will be to form a close and firm alliance with Spain (their territories bordering), and who being united, will be able, not only to preserve their own people in peace, but to repel the force of all the other powers in Europe. It seems, therefore, prudent on both sides to cultivate a good understanding, that may hereafter be so useful to both; towards which a fair foundation is already laid in our minds, by the well-founded popular opinion entertained here of Spanish integrity and honor. I hope my presumption in hinting this will be pardoned. If in any thing on this side the globe I can render either service or pleasure to your royal highness, your com

niands will make me happy. With the utmost esteem and veneration, I have the honor to be your Serene Highness's most obedient and most humble servant, B. FRANKLIN.



Paris, Jan. 27, 1777.

I rejoice to hear of your continual progress in those useful discoveries; I find that you have set all the philosophers of Europe at work upon fixed air; and it is with great pleasure I observe how high you stand in their opinion; for I enjoy my friends' fame as my own.

The hint you gave me jocularly, that you did not quite despair of the philosopher's stone, draws from me a request, that when you have found it, you will take care to lose it again; for I believe in my conscience that mankind are wicked enough to continue slaughtering one another as long as they can find money to pay the butchers. But of all the wars in my time, this on the part of England appears to me the wickedest; having no cause but malice against liberty, and the jealousy of commerce. And I think the crime seems likely to meet with its proper punishment; a total loss of her own liberty, and the destruction of her own commerce.

I suppose you would like to know something of the state of affairs in America. In all probability we shall be much stronger the next campaign than we were in the last; better armed, better disciplined, and with more ammunition. When I was at the camp before Boston,* the army had not five rounds of powder a man; this was kept a secret even from

* In October 1775.

our people. The world wondered that we so seldom fired a cannon: we could not afford it: but we now make powder in plenty.

To me it seems, as it has always done, that this war must end in our favor, and in the ruin of Britain, if she does not speedily put an end to it. An English gentleman here the other day, in company with some French, remarked, that it was folly in France not to make war immediately: And in England, replied one of them, not to make peace.

Do not believe the reports you hear of our internal divisions. We are, I believe, as much united as any people ever were, and as firmly. B. FRANKLIN.


Paris, Feb. 8, 1777.

You are too early, hussy, as well as too saucy, in calling me rebel; you should wait for the event, which will determine whether it is a rebellion or only a revolution. Here the ladies are more civil; they call us les Insurgens; a character that usually pleases them: and methinks all other women who smart, or have smarted under the tyranny of a bad husband, ought to be fixed in revolution principles, and act accordingly.

In my way to Canada last spring, I saw dear Mrs. Barrow, at New York. Mr. Barrow had been from her two or three months to keep Governor Tyron, and other tories company on board the Asia, one of the king's ships which lay in the harbor; and in all that time that naughty man had not ventured once on shore to see her. Our troops were then pouring into the town, and she was packing up to leave it; fearing, as she had a large house, they would incom

mode her, by quartering officers in it. As she appeared in great perplexity, scarce knowing where to go, I persuaded her to stay; and I went to the general officers then commanding there, and recommended her to their protection; which they promised and performed. On my return from Canada, where I was a piece of a governor (and I think a very good one) for a fortnight, and might have been so till this time, if your wicked army, enemies to all good government, had not come and driven me out, I found her still in quiet possession of her house. I inquired how our people had behaved to her; she spoke in high terms of the respectful attention they had paid her, and the quiet and security they had procured her. I said I was glad of it; and that if they had used her ill, I would have turned tory. "Then," said she, (with that pleasing gaiety so natural to her) "I wish they had." For you must know she is a toryess as well as you, and can as flippantly call rebel. I drank tea with her we talked affectionately of you and our other friends the Wilkes's, of whom she had received no late intelligence. What became of her since, I have not heard. The street she lived in was some months after chiefly burnt down; but as the town was then, and ever since has been, in possession of the king's troops, I have had no opportunity of knowing whether she suffered any loss in the conflagration. I hope she did not, as if she did, I should wish I had not persuaded her to stay there. I am glad to learn from you that that unhappy, though deserving family, the W.'s, are getting into some business that may afford them subsistence. I pray that God will bless them, and that they may see happier days. Mr. Cheap's and Dr. H.'s good fortunes please me.

Pray learn, if you have not already learnt, like me, to be pleased with other people's pleasures, and happy with their happiness, when none occur of your own; then perhaps you will not so soon be weary of the place you chance to be in, and so fond of rambling to get rid of your ennui. I fancy you have hit upon the right reason of your being weary of St. Omers, viz. that you are out of temper, which is the effect of full living and idleness. A month in Bridewell, beating hemp, upon bread and water, would give you health and spirits, and subsequent cheerfulness and contentment, with every other situation. I prescribe that regimen for you, my dear, in pure good-will, without a fee. And let me tell you, if you do not get into temper, neither Brussels nor Lisle will suit you. I know nothing of the price of living in either of those places; but I am sure a single woman as you are might with economy upon two hundred pounds a-year maintain herself comfortably any where; and me into the bargain. Do not invite me in earnest, however, to come and live with you; for being posted here, I ought not to comply, and I am not sure I should be able to refuse. Present my respects to Mrs. Payne, and Mrs. Heathcot, for though I have not the honor of knowing them, yet as you say they are friends to the American cause, I am sure they must be women of good understanding. I know you wish you could see me, but as you can't, I will describe myself to you. Figure me in your mind as jolly as formerly, and as strong and hearty, only a few years older; very plainly dressed, wearing my thin grey straight hair, that peeps out under my only coiffure, a fine fur cap, which comes down my forehead almost to my spectacles. Think how this

« AnteriorContinuar »