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graduated this summer. My grandson presents his respects; and I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, B. FRANKLIN. You never mention the receipt of any letters from me. I wish to know if they come to hand, particularly my last enclosing the apologue.* You mention some of my old friends being dead, but not their




Philadelphia, March 2, 1789. Having now done with public affairs, which have hitherto taken up so much of my time, I shall endeavor to enjoy, during the small remainder of life that is left to me, some of the pleasures of conversing with my old friends by writing, since their distance prevents my hope of seeing them again.

I received one of the bags of sweet corn you was so good as to send me a long time since, but the other never came to hand; even the letter mentioning it, though dated December 10, 1787, has been above a year on its way, for I received it but about two weeks since from Baltimore in Maryland. The corn I did receive was excellent, and gave me great pleasure. Accept my hearty thanks.

I am, as you suppose in the above-mentioned old letter, much pleased to hear that my young friend Ray is "smart in the farming way," and makes such substantial fences. I think agriculture the most honorable of all employments, being the most independent the farmer has no need of popular favor, nor the favor of the great, the success of his crops depending only on the blessing of God upon his

* See WRITINGS, Part III. Sect. 3.

honest industry. I congratulate your good spouse, that he, as well as myself, is now free from public cares, and that he can bend his whole attention to his farming, which will afford him both profit and pleasure; a business which nobody knows better how to manage with advantage. I am too old to follow printing again myself, but loving the business, I have brought up my grandson Benjamin to it, and have built and furnished a printing-house for him, which he now manages under my eye. I have great pleasure in the rest of my grand-children, who are now in number eight, and all promising; the youngest only six months old, but shows signs of great goodnature. My friends here are numerous, and I enjoy as much of their conversation as I can reasonably wish; and I have as much health and cheerfulness as can well be expected at my age, now eighty-three. Hitherto this long life has been tolerably happy; so that if I were allowed to live it over again, I should make no objection, only wishing for leave to do, what authors do in a second edition of their works, correct some of my errata. Among the felicities of my life I reckon your friendship, which I shall remember with pleasure as long as that life lasts; being ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,



Philadelphia, April 27, 1789. It is only a few days since the kind letter of dear young friend, dated December 24, came to my hands. I had before, in the public papers, met


* A daughter of the bishop of St. Asaph.


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with the afflicting news that letter contained. That excellent man has then left us!-his departure is a loss not to his family and friends only, but to his nation, and to the world; for he was intent on doing good, had wisdom to devise the means, and talents to promote them. His sermon before the Society for Propagating the Gospel, and "his speech intended to be spoken," are proofs of his ability as well as his humanity. Had his counsels in those pieces been attended to by the ministers, how much bloodshed might have been prevented, and how much expense and disgrace to the nation avoided!

Your reflections on the constant calmness and composure attending his death are very sensible. Such instances seem to show, that the good sometimes enjoy in dying a foretaste of the happy state they are about to enter.

According to the course of years I should have quitted this world long before him: I shall however not be long in following. I am now in my eightyfourth year, and the last year has considerably enfeebled me; so that I hardly expect to remain another. You will then, my dear friend, consider this as probably the last line to be received from me, and as a taking leave. Present my best and most sincere respects to your good mother, and love to the rest of the family, to whom I wish all happiness; and believe me to be, while I do live, yours most affectionately, B. FRANKLIN.


MY VERY DEAR FRIEND, Philadelphia, May 31, 1789. I lately received your kind letter, enclosing one from Miss Kitty Shipley, informing me of the good

bishop's decease, which afflicted me greatly. My friends drop off one after another, when my age and infirmities prevent my making new ones; and if I still retained the necessary activity and ability, I hardly see among the existing generation where I could make them of equal goodness. So that the longer I live I must expect to be the more wretched. As we draw nearer the conclusion of life, nature furnishes with more helps to wean us from it, among which, one of the most powerful is the loss of dear friends.

I send you with this the two volumes of our transactions, as I forget whether you had the first before. If you had, you will please to give this to the French ambassador, requesting his conveyance of it to the good Duke de la Rochefoucault.

My best wishes attend you; being ever, with sincere and great esteem, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, B. FRANKLIN.



Philadelphia, June 3, 1789. I received your kind letter of March 4, and wish I may be able to complete what you so earnestly desire, the memoirs of my life. But of late I am so interrupted by extreme pain, which obliges me to have recourse to opium, that between the effects of both, I have but little time in which I can write any thing. My grandson, however, is copying what is done, which will be sent to you for your opinion by the next vessel; and not merely for your advice; for I find it a difficult task to speak decently and properly of one's own conduct; and I feel the want

of a judicious friend to encourage me in scratching


I have condoled sincerely with the Bishop of St. Asaph's family. He was an excellent man. Losing our friends thus, one by one, is the tax we pay for long living; and it is indeed a heavy one!

I have not seen the king of Prussia's posthumous works; what you mention makes me desirous to have them. Please to mention it to your brother William, and that I request he would add them to the books I have desired him to buy for me.

Our new government is now in train, and seems to promise well. But events are in the hand of God! I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, B. FRANKLIN,



Philadelphia, Nov. 4, 1789. I received your kind letter of July 31st, which gave me great pleasure, as it informed me of the welfare both of yourself and your good lady, to whom please to present my respects. I thank you for the epistle of your yearly meeting, and for the card (a specimen of printing) which was enclosed.

We have now had one session of congress, which was conducted under our new constitution, and with as much general satisfaction as could reasonably be expected. I wish the struggle in France may end as happily for that nation. We are now in the full enjoyment of our new government for eleven of the states, and it is generally thought that North Carolina is about to join it. Rhode Island will probably take longer time for consideration. We have had a most plentiful year for the fruits of the earth, and

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