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well acquainted. In short I enjoy here every opportunity of doing good, and every thing else I could wish for, except repose; and that I may soon expect either by the cessation of my office, which cannot last more than three years, or by ceasing to live.

I am of the same opinion with you respecting the freedom of commerce, especially in countries where direct taxes are practicable. This will be our case in time, when our wide-extended country fills up with inhabitants. But at present they are so widely settled, often five or six miles distant from one another in the back country, that the collection of a direct tax is almost impossible, the trouble of the collectors' going from house to house amounting to more than the value of the tax. Nothing can be better expressed than your sentiments are on this point, where you prefer liberty of trading, cultivating, manufacturing, &c. even to civil liberty, this being affected but rarely, the other every hour. Our debt occasioned by the war being heavy, we are under the necessity of using imposts and every method we can think of to assist in raising a revenue to discharge it; but in sentiment we are well disposed to abolish duties on importation as soon as we possibly can afford to do so.

Whatever may be reported by the English in Europe, you may be assured that our people are almost unanimous in being satisfied with the revolution. Their unbounded respect for all who were principally concerned in it, whether as warriors or statesmen, and the enthusiastic joy with which the day of the declaration of independence is every where annually celebrated, are indubitable proofs of this truth. In one or two of the states there have been some dis

contents on partial and local subjects; these may have been fomented, as the accounts of them are exaggerated, by our ancient enemies; but they are now nearly suppressed, and the rest of the states enjoy peace and good order, and florish amazingly. The crops have been good for several years past, the price of country produce high, from foreign demand, and it fetches ready money: rents are high in our towns, which increase fast by new buildings; laborers and artisans have high wages well paid, and vast tracts of new land are continually clearing and rendered fit for cultivation. I am, &c.




Philadelphia, May 18, 1787.

I received your very kind letter of February 27, together with the cask of porter you have been so good as to send me. We have here at present what the French call une assemblée des notables, a convention composed of some of the principal people from the several states of our confederation. They did me the honor of dining with me last Wednesday, when the cask was broached, and its contents met with the most cordial reception and universal approbation. In short the company agreed unanimously that it was the best porter they had ever tasted. Accept my thanks, a poor return, but all I can make at present.

Your letter reminds me of many happy days we have passed together, and the dear friends with whom we passed them; some of whom, alas! have left us, and we must regret their loss, although our

Hawkesworth is become an adventurer in more happy regions; and our Stanley† gone, "where only his own harmony can be exceeded." You give me joy in telling me that you are "on the pinnacle of content." Without it no situation can be happy; with it, any. One means of becoming content with one's situation is the comparing it with a worse. 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, viz. the gout, the stone, and old age; and that these have `not yet deprived me of my natural cheerfulness, 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 wax-work wife to sit at the head of his table. For after all, wedlock is the natural state of man. A bachelor is not a complete human being. He is like the odd half of a pair of scissars, 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

* John Hawkesworth, LL. D. author of the Adventurer, and compiler of the account of the Discoveries made in the South Seas, by Captain Cook.

+ John Stanley, an eminent musician and composer, became blind at the age of two years.

The astronomer.

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 she says, a fine woman. God bless her and you, my dear friend, and every thing that pertains to you, is the sincere prayer of yours most affectionately,

B. FRANKLIN, in his 82d year.


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 avoidable. A

new company was proposed, and prevented only by admitting a number of new partners. 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 always 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 honored 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 much to your advantage as to ours, don't make it. I am sure the want of it is not more to our disadvantage than to yours. Let the merchants 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 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

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