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This inscription, which you find to be Phoenician, is, I think, near Taunton (not Jannston, as you write it). There is some account of it in the old Philosophical Transactions. I have never been at the place, but shall be glad to see your remarks on it.*

The compass appears to have been long known in China before it was known in Europe; unless we suppose it known to Homer, who makes the prince, that lent ships to Ulysses, boast that they had a spirit in them by whose directions they could find their way in a cloudy day, or the darkest night. If any Phoenicians arrived in America, I should rather think it was not by the accident of a storm, but in the course of their long and adventurous voyages; and that they coasted from Denmark and Norway, over to Greenland, and down southward by Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, &c. to New England; as the Danes themselves certainly did some ages before Columbus.

Our new American society will be happy in the correspondence you mention, and when it is possible for me, I shall be glad to attend the meetings of your society, which I am sure must be very instructive. With great and sincere esteem, I have the honor to be, &c. B. FRANKLIN.

* This supposed Phœnician inscription, it has been asserted, consisted only of marks made in the hard clay of a very steep bank on which the native Indians used to sit waiting the approach of wild ducks; and in the mean time sharpening the points of their flint stone arrow-heads, by rubbing them in different directions; by which indentures or impressions were made, which had the appearance of an inscription.

+ L'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres.



Passy, May 15, 1781. Your sentiments of the present state of our affairs appear to me very judicious, and I am much obliged by your free communication of them. They are often of use here; for you have a name and character among us, that give weight to your opinions.

It gives me great pleasure to learn that your new constitution is at length settled with so great a degree of unanimity and general satisfaction. It seems to me upon the whole an excellent one; and that if there are some `particulars that one might have wished a little different, they are such as could not in the present state of things have been well obtained otherwise than they are, and if by experience found inconvenient, will probably be changed hereafter. I would only mention at present one article, that of maintenance for the clergy. It seems to me that by the constitution the Quakers may be obliged to pay the tax for that purpose. But as the great end in imposing it is professedly the promotion of piety, religion, and morality, and those people have found means of securing that end among themselves, without a regular clergy, and their teachers are not allowed to receive money, I should think it not right to tax them, and give the money to the teacher of the parish; but I imagine that in the laws to be made for levying parish taxes this matter may be regulated to their contentment.

I am very sensible of the honor done me by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in choosing me one of their members. I wish I could be of some utility in promoting the noble design of their institution. Perhaps I may, by sending them from

time to time some of the best publications that appear here. I shall begin to make a collection for them.

Your excellent sermon gave me abundance of pleasure, and is much admired by several of my friends who understand English. I propose to get it translated and printed at Geneva, at the end of a translation of your new constitution. Nothing could be happier than your choice of a text, and your application of it. It was not necessary in New England, where every body reads the Bible, and is acquainted with Scripture phrases, that you should note the texts from which you took them; but I have observed in England, as well as in France, that verses and expressions taken from the sacred writings, and not known to be such, appear very strange and awkward to some readers; and I shall therefore in my edition take the liberty of marking the quoted texts in the margin.

I know not whether a belly-full has been given to any body by the picking of my bones, but picked they now are, and I think it time they should be at rest. I am taking measures to obtain that rest for them; happy if, before I die, I can find a few days absolutely at my own disposal! I often form pleasing imaginations of the pleasure I should enjoy as a private person among my friends and compatriots in my native Boston. God only knows whether this pleasure is reserved for me. With the greatest and most sincere esteem, I am, &c. B. FRANKLIN.


Passy, June 8, 1781. I received the letter you did me the honor of writing to me the 31st past, relating to your ship sup

posed to be retaken from the English by an American privateer and carried into Morlaix. I apprehend that you have been misinformed, as I do not know of any American privateer at present in these seas. I have the same sentiments with you of the injustice of the English, in their treatment of your nation. They seem at present to have renounced all pretension to any other honor than that of being the first piratical state in the world. There are three employments which I wish the law of nations would protect, so that they should never be molested or interrupted by enemies even in time of war; I mean farmers, fishermen, and merchants; because their employments are not only innocent, but for the common subsistence and benefit of the human species in general. As men grow more enlightened, we may hope that this will in time be the case. Till then we must submit as well as we can to the evils we cannot remedy. I have the honor to be, gentlemen, &c. &c. B. FRANKLIN.



Passy, Aug. 24, 1781. We are all much obliged to Count de Montmorin for his friendly assistance in our affairs. Please to present him my thankful acknowledgments.

The congress have done me the honor to refuse my resignation, and insist on my continuing in their service till the peace. I must therefore buckle again to business, and thank God that my health and spirits are of late improved. I fancy it may have been a double mortification to those enemies you have mentioned to me, that I should ask as a favor what they hoped to vex me by taking from me; and

that I should nevertheless be continued. But these sort of considerations should never influence our conduct. We ought always to do what appears best to be done, without much regarding what others may think of it. I call this continuance an honor, and first ap

I really esteem it to be a greater than my pointment, when I consider that all the interest of my enemies, united with my own request, were not sufficient to prevent it.

I have not yet received the works of your Economical Society, or those of its founder. I suppose you have not met with an opportunity of sending them. The letter you propose sending to our philosophical society will be very acceptable to them. shall be glad to peruse the copy you propose passing through my hands.

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Passy, Sept. 5, 1781. I duly received the letter you did me the honor of writing to me the 25th past, together with the valuable little book, of which you are the author. There can be no doubt but that a gentleman of your learning and abilities might make a very useful member of society in our new country, and meet with encouragement there, either as an instructor in one of our universities, or as a clergyman of the church of Ireland. But I am not empowered to engage any person to go over thither, and my abilities to assist the distressed are very limited. I suppose you will soon be set at liberty in England by the cartel for the exchange of prisoners: in the mean time, if five Louis

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