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liberty. They are the servants of the people, sent together to do the people's business, and promote the public welfare; their powers must be sufficient, or their duties cannot be performed. They have no profitable appointments, but a mere payment of daily wages, such as are scarcely equivalent to their expenses; so that having no chance for great places, and enormous salaries or pensions, as in some countries, there is no canvassing or bribing for elections. I wish Old England were as happy in its government, but I do not see it. Your people, however, think their constitution the best in the world, and affect to despise ours. It is comfortable to have a good opinion of one-self, and of every thing that belongs to us; to think one's own religion, king, and wife, the best of all possible wives, kings, or religions. I remember three Greenlanders, who had travelled two years in Europe, under the care of some Moravian missionaries, and had visited Germany, Denmark, Holland, and England; when I asked them at Philadelphia (where they were in their way home) whether, now they had seen how much more commodiously the white people lived by the help of the arts, they would not choose to remain among us? their answer was, that they were pleased with having had an opportunity of seeing so many fine things, but they chose to LIVE in their own country. Which country, by the way, consisted of rock only, for the Moravians were obliged to carry earth in their ship from New York, for the purpose of making a cabbage garden.

By Mr. Dollond's saying, that my double spectacles can only serve particular eyes, I doubt he has not been rightly informed of their construction. I ima

gine it will be found pretty generally true, that the same convexity of glass, through which a man sees clearest and best at the distance proper for reading, is not the best for greater distances. I therefore had formerly two pair of spectacles, which I shifted occasionally, as in travelling I sometimes read, and often wanted to regard the prospects. Finding this change troublesome, and not always sufficiently ready, I had the glasses cut, and half of each kind associated in the same circle, thus


By this means, as I wear my spectacles constantly, I have only to move my eyes up or down, as I want to see distinctly far or near, the proper glasses being always ready. This I find more particularly convenient since my being in France; the glasses that serve me best at table to see what I eat, not being the best to see the faces of those on the other side of the table who speak to me; and when one's ears are not well accustomed to the sounds of a language, a sight of the movements in the features of him that speaks, helps to explain; so that I understand French better by the help of my spectacles.

My intended translator of your piece, the only one I know who understands the subject, as well as the two languages, (which a translator ought to do, or

he cannot make so good a translation,) is at present occupied in an affair that prevents his undertaking it; but that will soon be over. I thank you for the notes. I should be glad to have another of the printed pamphlets.

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We shall always be ready to take your children if you send them to us. I only wonder, that since London draws to itself, and consumes such numbers of your country people, the country should not, to supply their places, want and willingly receive the children you have to dispose of. That circumstance, together with the multitude who voluntarily part with their freedom as men, to serve for a time as lacqueys, or for life as soldiers, in consideration of small wages, seems to me proof that your island is over-peopled. And yet it is afraid of emigrations! Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me ever, yours very affectionately, B. FRANKLIN.



Passy, June 20, 1785.

I have just received the only letter from you that has given me pain. It informs me of your intention to attempt passing to England in the car of a balloon. In the present imperfect state of that invention, I think it much too soon to hazard a voyage of that distance. It is said here by some of those who have had experience, that as yet they have not found means to keep up a balloon more than two hours; for that by now and then losing air to prevent rising too high and bursting, and now and then discharging ballast to avoid descending too low, these means of regulation are exhausted. Besides this, all the circumstances of danger by disap

pointment, in the operation of Soupapes,* &c. &c. seem not to be yet well known, and therefore not easily provided against. For on Wednesday last M. Pilâtre de Rosier, who had studied the subject as much as any man, lost his support in the air, by the bursting of his balloon, or by some other means we are yet unacquainted with, and fell with his companiont from the height of one thousand toises, on the rocky coast, and were both found dashed to pieces. You, having lived a good life, do not fear death. But pardon the anxious freedom of a friend, if he tells you that the continuance of your life being of importance to your family and your country, though you might laudably hazard it for their good, you have no right to risk it for a fancy. I pray God this may reach you in time, and have some effect towards changing your design: being ever, my dear friend, yours affectionately, B. FRANKLIN.



Passy, July 5, 1785. I received the books you were so kind as to send me by Mr. Drown. Please to accept my hearty thanks. Your writings, which always have some public good for their object, I always read with pleasure. I am perfectly of your opinion with respect to the salutary law of gavel-kind, and hope may in time be established throughout America. In six of the states already the lands of intestates are divided equally among the children if all girls; but there is a double share given to the eldest son, for which I see no more reason than in giving such share


* Valves.

+ The Marquis d'Arlandes.

to the eldest daughter; and think there should be no distinction. Since my being last in France, I have seen several of our eldest sons spending idly their fortunes by residing in Europe, and neglecting their own country; these are from the southern states. The northern young men stay at home, and are industrious useful citizens; the more equal division of their fathers' fortunes not enabling them to ramble and spend their shares abroad, which is so much the better for their country.

I like your piece on the election of bishops. There is a fact in Hollingshed's Chronicle, the latter part relating to Scotland, which shows, if my memory does not deceive me, that the first bishop in that country was elected by the clergy; I mentioned it some time past in a letter to two young men,* who asked my advice about obtaining ordination, which had been denied them by the bishops in England, unless they would take the oath of allegiance to the king; and I said, I imagine that unless a bishop is soon sent over, with a power to consecrate others, so that we may have no future occasion of applying to England for ordination, we may think it right, after reading your piece, to elect also.

The liturgy you mention was an abridgment of that made by a noble lord of my acquaintance, who requested me to assist him by taking the rest of the book, viz. the catechism and the reading and singing psalms. These I abridged by retaining of the catechism only the two questions, What is your duty to God? What is your duty to your neighbor? with The psalms were much contracted by


* See Letter to Messrs. Weems and Gant, July 18, 1784.

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