Imágenes de páginas

who by their numbers may drown and stifle the English, which otherwise would probably become in the course of two centuries the most extensive language in the world, the Spanish only excepted? It is a fact, that the Irish emigrants and their children are now in possession of the government of Pennsylvania, by their majority in the assembly, as well as of a great part of the territory; and I remember well the first ship that brought any of them over. I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, B. FRANKLIN.



Passy, near Paris, Aug. 21, 1784.

I received your kind letter of May 3, 1783. I am ashamed that it has been so long unanswered. The indolence of old age, frequent indisposition, and too much business, are my only excuses. I had great pleasure in reading it, as it informed me of your welfare.

Your excellent little work, the Principles of Trade, is too little known. I wish you would send me a copy of it by the return of my grandson and secretary, whom I beg leave to recommend to your civilities. I would get it translated and printed here. And if your bookseller has any quantity of them left, I should be glad he would send them to America. The ideas of our people there, though rather better than those that prevail in Europe, are not so good as they should be; and that piece might be of service among them.

I am sorry your favorite charity* does not go on as you could wish it. It is shrunk indeed by your admitting only 60 children in a year. What you have told your brethren respecting America is true. If you find it difficult to dispose of your children in England, it looks as if you had too many people. And yet you are afraid of emigration. A subscription is lately set on foot here to encourage and assist mothers in nursing their infants themselves at home; the practice of sending them to the Enfants trouvés having risen here to a monstrous excess, as by the annual bill it appears they amount to near one-third of the children born in Paris! The subscription is likely to succeed, and may do a great deal of good, though it cannot answer all the purposes of a Foundling Hospital.

Your eyes must continue very good, since you can write so small a hand without spectacles. I cannot distinguish a letter even of large print; but am happy in the invention of double spectacles,† which, serving for distant objects as well as near ones, make my eyes as useful to me as ever they were. If all the other defects and infirmities were as easily and cheaply remedied, it would be worth while for friends to live a good deal longer; but I look upon death to be as necessary to our constitution as sleep. We shall rise refreshed in the morning. Adieu, and believe me ever yours most affectionately,

*The Foundling Hospital.


See a particular description of the same in letter to George

Wheatley, Esq. May 23, 1785.



Passy, August 21, 1784. Understanding that my letter intended for you by General Melvill was lost at the Hotel d'Espagne, I take this opportunity, by my grandson, to give you the purport of it, as well as I can recollect. I thanked you for the pleasure you had procured me of the general's conversation, whom I found a judicious, sensible, and amiable man. I was glad to hear that you possessed a comfortable retirement, and more so that you had thoughts of removing to Philadelphia, for that it would make me very happy to have you there. Your companions would be very acceptable to the library, but I hoped you would long live to enjoy their company yourself. I agreed with you in sentiments concerning the Old Testament, and thought the clause in our constitutions which required the members of assembly to declare their belief, that the whole of it was given by divine inspiration, had better have been omitted. That I had opposed the clause; but being overpowered by numbers, and fearing more might in future times be grafted on it, I prevailed to have the additional clause, "that no further or more extended profession of faith should ever be exacted." I observed to you too, that the evil of it was the less, as no inhabitant, nor any officer of government, except the members of assembly, was obliged to make that declaration. So much for that letter: to which I may now add, that there are several things in the Old Testament impossible to be given by divine inspiration; such as the approbation ascribed to the angel of the

Supposed to Dr. Priestley.

Lord, of that abominably wicked and detestable action of Jael, the wife of Heber, the Kenite.* If the rest of the books were like that, I should rather suppose it given by inspiration from another quarter, and renounce the whole.

By the way, how goes on the Unitarian church in Essex Street? and the honest minister of it, is he comfortably supported? your old colleague Mr. Radcliff, is he living? and what became of Mr. Denham ?

I jog on still, with as much health, and as few of the infirmities of old age as I have any reason to expect. But notwithstanding the decay of my constitution, my regard for my old friends remains firm and entire. You will always have a good share of it; for I am ever, with great and sincere esteem, dear sir, &c. B. FRANKLIN.


MY DEAR FRIEND, Passy, Sept. 7, 1784. This will be delivered to you by Count Mirabeau;§ son of the Marquis of that name, author of L'Ami des Hommes. This gentleman is esteemed here, and I recommend him to your civilities and counsels, particularly with respect to the printing of a piece he has written on the subject of hereditary nobility, on occasion of the order of Cincinnati lately attempted to be established in America, which cannot be printed here. I find that some of the best judges think it

Judges, chap. iv. + Theophilus Lindsey, M. A. A dissenting minister at Wapping, who afterwards turned to the profession of the law. He published one or two sermons. § The same who afterwards so eminently distinguished himself by his eloquence in the early part of the French revolution.

extremely well written, with great clearness, force, and elegance. If you can recommend him to an honest, reasonable bookseller, that will undertake it, you will do him much service, and perhaps some to mankind, who are too much bigoted in many countries to that kind of imposition. I had formerly almost resolved to trouble you with no more letters of recommendation; but I think you will find this gentleman to possess talents that may render his acquaintance agreeable. With sincere esteem, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, B. FRANKLIN.


DEAR FRIEND, Passy, April 21, 1785. We see much in parliamentary proceedings, and in papers and pamphlets, of the injury the concessions to Ireland will do to the manufacturers of England, while the people of England seem to be forgotten, as if quite out of the question. If the Irish can manufacture cottons, and stuffs, and silks, and linens, and cutlery, and toys, and books, &c. &c. &c. so as to sell them cheaper in England than the manufacturers of England sell them, is not this good for the people of England, who are not manufacturers? And will not even the manufacturers themselves share the benefit; since if cottons are cheaper, all the other manufacturers who wear cottons will save in that article; and so of the rest? If books can be had much cheaper from Ireland, (which I believe, for I bought Blackstone there for 24s. when it was sold in England at four guineas,) is not this an advantage, not to English booksellers indeed, but to English readers, and to learning? And of all the complainants, perhaps these booksellers

« AnteriorContinuar »