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are least worthy of consideration. The catalogue


last sent me amazes me by the high prices (said to be the lowest) affixed to each article. And one can scarce see a new book, without observing the excessive artifices made use of to puff up a paper of verses into a pamphlet, a pamphlet into an octavo, and an octavo into a quarto, with scab-boardings, white-lines, sparse titles of chapters, and exorbitant margins, to such a degree, that the selling of paper seems now the object, and printing on it only the pretence. I enclose the copy of a page in a late comedy. Between every two lines there is a white space equal to another line. You have a law, I think, against butchers blowing of veal to make it look fatter; why not one against booksellers blowing of books to make them look bigger? All this to yourself; you can easily guess the reason.

My grandson is a little indisposed, but sends you two pamphlets, Figaro, and Le Roi Voyageur. The first is a play of Beaumarchais, which has had a great run here. The other a representation of all the supposed errors of Government in this country, some of which are probably exaggerated. It is not publicly sold; we shall send some more shortly. Please to remember me very respectfully and affectionately to good Dr. Price. I am glad that he has printed a translation of the Testament: it may do good. I am ever, my dear friend, yours most sincerely, B. FRANKLIN.



En relisant, Monsieur, le prospectus de votre estampe, je vois que vous m'attribuez toujours en entier le mérite d'avoir affranchi l'Amérique. J'ai

cependant eu l'honneur de vous dire, dans notre première conversation, que je ne pouvois y consentir sans me rendre coupable d'injustice envers tant d'hommes sages et courageux qui n'ont pas craint de hasarder leur fortune et leur vie pour le succès de cette entreprise; je vous proposai donc, et je persiste dans la même pensée, de substituer à mon nom dans l'explication de l'estampe, ces mots: "Le congrès représenté par un sénateur habillé à la romaine,"&c.

Je ne puis non plus, Monsieur, en accepter la dédicace : je ne veux point que la France, et mon pays, me croyent assez présomptueux pour convenir que je mérite des louanges aussi excessives; et vous concevez qu'il me siéroit mal d'appuyer de ma recommandation le débit d'un ouvrage qui les contiendroit. D'après ces considérations je vous prie de vouloir bien changer votre explication dans un nouveau prospectus, et de dédier votre estampe au congrès. J'ai l'honneur d'être, &c. B. FRANKLIN.


Passy, April 29, 1785.

I thank you much for the postscript respecting my disorder, the stone. I have taken heretofore, and am now again taking the remedy you mention, which is called Blackrie's Solvent. It is the soap lie, with lime water, and I believe it may have some effect in diminishing the symptoms, and preventing the growth of the stone, which is all I expect from it. It does not hurt my appetite: I sleep well, and enjoy my friends in cheerful conversation as usual. But as I cannot use much exercise, I eat more sparingly than formerly, and I drink no wine.

I admire that you should be so timid in asking

leave of your good imperial master, to make a journey for visiting a friend. I am persuaded you would succeed, and I hope the proposition I have repeated to you in this letter will assist your courage, and enable you to ask and obtain. If you come hither soon, you may, when present, get your book finished, and be ready to proceed with me to America. While writing this, I have received from congress my leave to return; and I believe I shall be ready to embark by the middle of July at farthest. I shall now be free from politics for the rest of my Welcome again, my dear philosophical amusements!


I see by a full page of your letter, you have been possessed with strange ideas of America; that there is no justice to be obtained there, no recovery of debts, projects of insurrection to overturn the present government, &c. &c.; that a Virginia colonel, nephew of the governor, had cheated a stranger of 100,000 livres, and that somebody was imprisoned for only speaking of it, and the like very improbable stories; they are all fictions or misrepresentations. If they were truths, all strangers would avoid such a country, and foreign merchants would as soon carry their goods to sell in Newgate as America. Think a little on the sums England has spent to preserve a monopoly of the trade of that people, with whom they had long been acquainted, and of the desire all Europe is now manifesting to obtain a share of that trade. Our ports are full of their ships, their merchants buying and selling in our streets continually, and returning with our products. Would this happen? Could such commerce be continued with us, if we were such a collection of scoundrels and villains as we have been represented to you? And insurrections

against our rulers are not only unlikely, as the rulers are the choice of the people, but unnecessary; as, if not liked, they may be changed annually by the new elections. I own you have cause, great cause to complain of *****, but you are wrong to condemn a whole country by a single sample. I have seen many countries, and I do not know a country in the world in which justice is so well administered, where protection and favor have so little power to impede its operations, and where debts are recovered with so much facility. If I thought it such a country as it has been painted to you, I should certainly never return to it. The truth, I believe, is, that more goods have been carried thither from all parts of Europe, than the consumption of the country requires, and it is natural that some of the adventurers are willing to discourage others from following them, lest the prices should still be kept down by the arrival of fresh cargoes; and it is not unlikely that some negligent or unfaithful factors sent thither, may have given such accounts, to excuse their not making remittances. And the English magnify all this, and spread it abroad in their papers, to dissuade foreigners from attempting to interfere with them in their commerce with us.

Your account of the emperor's condescending conversation with you concerning me, is pleasing. I respect very much the character of that monarch, and think, that if I were one of his subjects, he would find me a good one. I am glad that his difference with your country is likely to be accommodated without bloodshed. The Courier de l'Europe, and some other papers, printed a letter on that difference, which they ascribed to me. Be assured, my friend, that I never wrote it, nor was ever presump

tuous enough to meddle with an affair so much out B. FRANKLIN.


my way. Yours, &c.



Passy, May 19, 1785.

mention respecting people speak what

"The conversations you America are suitable. Those they wish; but she was certainly never in a more happy situation. They are angry with us, and speak all manner of evil of us; but we florish notwithstanding. They put me in mind of a violent highchurch factor, resident in Boston, when I was a boy. He had bought upon speculation a Connecticut cargo of onions, which he flattered himself he might sell again to great profit; but the price fell, and they lay upon hand. He was heartily vexed with his bargain, especially when he observed they began to grow the store he had filled with them. He showed them one day to a friend. "Here they are," said he, "and they are growing too! I damn them every day; but I think they are like the Presbyterians; the more I curse them, the more they grow.' Yours,

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Passy, May 23, 1785.


I sent you a few lines the other day, with my medallion, when I should have written more, but was prevented by the coming in of a bavard, who worried me till evening. I bore with him, and now you are to bear with me; for I shall probably bavarder in answering your letter.

I am not acquainted with the saying of Alphonsus, which you allude to as a sanctification of your rigidity in refusing to allow me the plea of old age as

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