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they lose their India commerce, which is one of their present great supports, and one battle at sea, their credit is gone and the power follows. Thus empires by pride, and folly, and extravagance, ruin themselves like individuals. M. La Motte Piquet has snatched from between their teeth a good deal of their West India prey, having taken 22 sail of their homeward bound prizes; one of our American privateers has taken two more, and brought them into Brest; and two were burnt. There were 34 in company, with two men-of-war of the line and two frigates, who saved themselves by flight; but we do not hear of their being yet got in. B. FRANKlin.



Passy, April 1, 1781. I am shocked exceedingly at the account you give me of Digges. He that robs the rich even of a single guinea is a villain, but what is he who can break his sacred trust, by robbing a poor man and a prisoner of eighteen-pence given charitably for his relief, and repeat that crime as often as there are weeks in a winter, and multiply it by robbing as many poor men every week as make up the number of near 600? We have no name in our language for such atrocious wickedness. If such a fellow is not damned, 'tis not worth while to keep a devil.*


Digges, a Maryland merchant residing in London, who pretended to be a zealous American, and to have much concern for our poor people in the English prisons, drew upon me for their relief at different times last winter to the amount of 4957. sterling, which he said had been drawn for upon him by the gentlemen at Portsmouth and Plymouth, who had the care of the dis

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I am sorry you have been obliged to advance money. I desired Mr. Grand some time since to order 2007.

to be paid you in London. If that is not done, draw on him for the sum of 250l. payable at 30 days' sight, and your bill shall be duly honored.

I enclose a copy of Digges's last letter to me, in which he acknowledges the drafts made on me, . (omitting one of 751.) and pretends that he only draws as he is drawn upon, by his friends who hand the money to the prisoners, and that those friends are almost tired of the charitable employment, but he encourages them, &c. Be so good as to let them know of this letter. I wish with you and with all good men for peace: proposals of mediation have been made, but the effect is yet uncertain.

With sincere esteem, I am, dear sir, &c.



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Passy, April 12, 1781. I received your favor by M. Cabarras, and should have been glad if I could have rendered him any service here. He appears an amiable man, and expert in affairs. I thank you much for your friendly hints of the operations of my enemies, and of the means I might use to defeat them. Having in view at present no other point to gain but that of rest, I do not take their malice so much amiss, as it may farther my project, and perhaps be some advantage to you. * * * and * ** are open, and so far honorable ene

tribution. To my utter astonishment, I have since learnt that the villain had not applied above 307. of the money to that use, and that he has failed and absconded."

*The American chargé d'affaires.

mies; the ** *, if enemies, are more covered. I never did any of them the least injury, and can conceive no other source of their malice but envy. To be sure the excessive respect shown me here by all ranks of people, and the little notice taken of them, was a mortifying circumstance; but it was what I could neither prevent or remedy. Those who feel pain at seeing others enjoy pleasure, and are unhappy, must meet daily with so many causes of torment, that I conceive them to be already in a state of damnation; and on that account, I ought to drop all resentment with regard to those two gentlemen. But I cannot help being concerned at the mischief their ill tempers will be continually doing in our public affairs, whenever they have any concern in them.

I remember the maxim you mention of Charles V., yo y el Tiempo; and have somewhere met with an answer to it in this distich,

I and Time 'gainst any two,

Chance and I 'gainst Time and you;

and I think the gentlemen you have at present to deal with, would do wisely to guard a little more against certain chances.

The price of the Biblioteca Hispana is too high for me. I thank you for the gazettes you sent me by the ambassador's courier. I received none by the last. I shall be exceedingly glad to receive the memoirs of the Sociedad Economica, and the Works on Political Economy of its founder. The Prince of Maceran, with several other persons of his nation, did me the honor of breakfasting with me on Monday last, whèn I presented the compliments you charged me with.

Mr. Cumberland has not yet arrived at Paris as far as I have heard.

The discontents in our army have been quieted. There was in them not the least disposition of revolting to the enemy.

I thank you for the Maryland captain's news, which I hope will be confirmed. They have heard something of it in England, as you will see by the papers, and are very uneasy about it, as well as about their news from the East Indies.

Yours affectionately,



DEAR SIR, Passy, May 7, 1781. I am glad the little book† proved acceptable. It does not appear to me intended for a grammar to teach the language: it is rather what we call in English a spelling-book, in which the only method observed is, to arrange the words according to their

*ANTOINE COURT DE GEBELIN, born at Nismes, in 1725, of a Protestant family, became a minister in that communion, first in the Cevennes, and next at Lausanne: which however he quitted, together with the clerical function, for the profession of literature at Paris, where he acquired so great a reputation as an antiquary and philologer, that he was appointed to superintend one of the museums. He lost much of his reputation, however, by his enthusiastic zeal in favor of animal magnetism. He died in Paris, May 13, 1784. His great work is intitled, "Monde Primitif, analysé et comparé avec le Monde Moderne," 9 tom. 4to. The excellence of his character may be appreciated from the single fact, that on quitting Switzerland, he voluntarily gave to his sister the principal part of his patrimony, reserving little for himself, and depending for a maintenance upon the exercise of his talents.

A vocabulary of the language of one of the Indian tribes in North America.

number of syllables, placing those of one syllable together, then those of two syllables, and so on. And it is to be observed, that Sa ki ma, for instance, is not three words, but one word of three syllables; and the reason that hyphens are not placed between the syllables is, that the printer had not enough of them.

As the Indians had no letters, they had no orthography. The Delaware language being differently spelt from the Virginian, may not always arise from a difference in the languages; for strangers who learn the language of an Indian nation, finding no orthography, are at liberty, in writing the language, to use such compositions of letters as they think will best produce the sounds of the words. I have observed that our Europeans of different nations, who learn the same Indian language, form each his own orthography according to the usual sounds given to the letters in his own language. Thus the same words of the Mohock language, written by an English, a French, and a German interpreter, often differ very much in the spelling; and without knowing the usual powers of the letters in the language of the interpreter, one cannot come at the pronunciation of the Indian words. The spelling-book in question was, I think, written by a German.

You mention a Virginian bible. Is it not the bible of the Massachusets language, translated by Elliot, and printed in New England, about the middle of the last century? I know this bible, but have never heard of one in the Virginian language. Your observations of the similitude between many of the words, and those of the ancient world, are indeed very curious.

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