« AnteriorContinuar »
That is the place where your enlightened zeal | whole amiable fireside. You will allow an for the welfare of our country can employ itself old friend of fourscore to say he loves your most to our advantage, and I know it is always wife, when he adds and children, and prays at work, and indefatigable. Our enemies are, God to bless them all. as you observe, very industrious in depre
“B. FRANKLIN.” ciating our national character. Their abuse sometimes provokes me, and I am almost ready to retaliate; but I have held my hand, though
• Marquis de Chastelleux.
"PHILADELPHIA, April 17, 1787. there is abundant room for recrimination; be
“ DEAR SIR,-Your most pleasing letter cause I would do nothing that might hasten another quarrel, by exasperating those who accompanied by the invaluable
present of are still sore from their late disgraces. Per- your journal, and translation of colonel Humhaps it may be best that they should please though dated in June last.
I believe they
phrey's poem, came to hand but lately, themselves with fancying us weak, and poor, have been in the West Indies. They have and divided, and friendless; they may since the peace, does really make rapid pro portrait you have made of our
country and not be jealous of our growing strength, (which given me a great deal of pleasure in the peru
sal, as every thing of yours always did. The gress) and may be less intent on interrupt- people, is what in painting is called a handknow little of free constitutions, should be endeavour to merit what you kindly say in * I do not wonder that the Germans, who some likeness, for which we are much obliged
We shall be the better for it if we ready to suppose that such cannot support themselves. We think they may, and we
our favour, and to correct what you justly hope to prove it . That there should be faults into English, and printed in one of the states,
I am told the journal is translated in our
first sketches or plans of government is I know not which, not having seen the transnot surprising ; rather, considering the times,
lation. and the circumstances under which they were formed, it is surprising that the faults are so about to have an assembly of Notables, to
“The newspapers tell us, that you are few. Those in the general confederating ar- consult on improvements of your government. ticles, are now about to be considered in a It is somewhat singular, that we should be convention called for that express purpose ; engaged in the same project here at the same these will indeed be the most difficult to rectify. Those of particular states will undoubt time, but so it is, and a convention for the edly be rectified, as their inconveniences shall purpose of revising and amending our federal by experience be made manifest. And what constitution is to meet at this place next month.
I hope both assemblies will be blessed with ever difference of sentiment there may be among us respecting particular regulations, cils may promote the happiness of both na
success, and that their deliberations and counthe enthusiastic rejoicings with which the day tions. of declared independence is annually cele
“ In the state of Pennsylvania, government, brated, demonstrate the universal satisfaction of the people with the revolution and its grand notwithstanding our parties, goes on at present
very smoothly; so that I have much less trouprinciples
“I enclose the vocabulary you sent me, with ble in my station than was expected. Massathe words of the Shawanese and Delaware chusetts has lately been disturbed by some languages, which colonel Harmar has pro- The rest of the states go on pretty well
disorderly people; but they are now quelled. cured for me. He is promised one more complete, which I shall send you as soon as it cept some dissensions in Rhode Island and
Maryland respecting paper money,
Mr. comes to my hands. My grandson, whom you so kindly inquire Paine, whom you know, and who undertakes
to deliver this letter to you, can give you full after, is at his estate in the Jerseys, and amuses himself with cultivating his lands. I wish he information of our affairs, and therefore I need would seriously make a business of it, and recommend him to your civilities
. I have ful
not enlarge upon them. I beg leave to renounce all thoughts of public employment, for I think agriculture the most honourable, be filled all your commissions to the ladies here, cause the most independent of all professions
. brance of them. —My family join in every
who are much flattered by your kind rememBut I believe he hankers a little after Paris, or some other of the polished cities of Europe, friend, yours most affectionately,
sentiment of esteem and respect with, my dear thinking the society there preferable to what
“ B. FRANKLIN.” he meets with in the woods of Ancocas; as it certainly is. If he was now here, he would undoubtedly join with me and the rest of my
“ The Abbé Morellet, Paris. family (who are much flattered by your re
"PHILADELPHIA, April 22, 1787. membrance of them) in the best wishes for “ MY VERY DEAR FRIEND, I received, your health and prosperity, and that of your though long after they were written, your
very agreeable favours of October, 30, '85, the accounts of them are exaggerated, by our and February 9, '86, with the pieces enclos ancient enemies; but they are now nearly ed, productions of the Auteuil Academy of suppressed, and the rest of the states enjoy belles lettres. Your kind and friendly wishes peace and good order, and flourish amazingly. and congratulations are extremely obliging: The crops have been good for several years It gives me an infinite pleasure to find that I past, the price of country produce high, from still retain a favourable place in the remem- foreign demand, and it fetches ready money; brance of the worthy and the good, whose de- rents are high in our towns, which increase lightful and instructive society I had the hap- fast by new buildings; labourers and artizans piness of enjoying while I resided in France. have high wages well paid, and vast tracts of
But though I could not leave that dear na- new land are continually clearing and rention without regret, I certainly did right in dered fit for cultivation. - I am, &c. coming home. I am here in my niche in my
“B. FRANKLIN." own house in the bosom of my family, my daughter and grandchildren all about me, among my old friends or the sons of my
" Mr. Jordain. friends, who equally respect me; and who all speak and understand the same language with
“ PHILADELPHIA, May 18, 1767. me; and you know that if a man desires to be “Dear Sir,-I received your very kind useful by the exercise of his mental faculties, letter of February 27, together with the cask he loses half their force when in a foreign of porter you have been so good as to send country, where he can only express himself in me. We have here at present what the a language with which he is not well acquaint- French call une assemblée des notables, a ed. In short, I enjoy here every opportunity convention composed of some of the principal of doing good, and every thing else I could people from the several states of our contewish for, except repose; and that I may soon deration. They did me the honour of dining expect, either by the cessation of my office, with me last Wednesday, when the task was which cannot last more than three years, or broached, and its contents met with the most by ceasing to live.
cordial reception and universal approbation. “I am of the same opinion with you respect. In short the company agreed unanimously, ing the freedom of commerce, in countries es- that it was the best porter they had ever pecially where direct taxes are practicable. tasted. Accept my thanks, a poor return, but This will be our case in time, when our wide all I can make at present. extended country fills up with inhabitants. “ Your letter reminds me of many happy But at present they are so widely settled, days we have passed together, and the dear often five or six miles distant from one ano- friends with whom we passed them; some of ther in the back country, that the collection whom, alas ! have left us, and we must re of a direct tax is almost impossible, the trou- gret their loss, although our Hawkesworth* ble of the collector's going from house to is become an adventurer in more happy rehouse amounting to more than the value of gions; and our Stanleył gone, where only the tax. Nothing can be better expressed his own harmony can be exceeded.' You than your sentiments are on this point, where give me joy in telling me that you are on: you prefer liberty of trading, cultivating, ma- the pinnacle of content.'
Without it no nufacturing, &c., even to civil liberty, this be- situation can be happy; with it, any. One ing affected but rarely, the other every hour. means of becoming content with one's situaOur debt occasioned by the war being heavy, tion, is the comparing it with a worse. Thus we are under the necessity of using imposts when I consider how many terrible diseases and every method we can think of to assist the human body is liable to, I comfort myself in raising a revenue to discharge it; but in that only three incurable ones have fallen to sentiment we are well disposed to abolish du- my share, viz. the gout, the stone, and old ties on importation as soon as we possibly can age; and that these have not yet deprived me afford to do so.
of my natural cheerfulness, my delight in “Whatever may be reported by the English books, and enjoyment of social conversation. in Europe, you may be assured that our people “ I am glad to hear that Mr. Fitzmaurice is are almost unanimous in being satisfied with married, and has an amiable lady and chil. 1 the revolution. Their unbounded respect for dren. It is a better plan than that he once all who were principally concerned in it, proposed, of getting Mrs. Wright to make whether as warriors or statesmen, and the him a wax-work wife to sit at the head of his enthusiastic joy with which the day of the de- table. For after all, wedlock is the natural claration of independence is every where annually celebrated, are indubitable proof of this
* John Hawkesworth, L. L. D. author of the Adventruth. In one or two of the states there have turer, and compiler of the account of the Discoveries been some discontents on partial and local made in the South Seas, by captain Cook.
1 John Stanley, an eminent masician and composer, subjects; these may have been fomented, as bough he became blind at the age of two years
state of man. A bachelor is not a complete , ville, and some others who honoured me with human being. He is like the odd haļf of a pair a show of friendly regard when in England. of scissors, which has not yet found its fel. I believe I have thanked you for it, but I low, and therefore is not even half so useful thank you again. as they might be together.
“I believe with you, that if our plenipo. is “I hardly know which to admire most; desirous of concluding a treaty of commerce, the wonderful discoveries made by Her- he may need patience. If I were in his schel, or the indefatigable ingenuity by place, and not otherwise instructed, I should which he has been enabled to make them. be apt to say "take your own time, gentleLet us hope, my friend, that when free from men. If the treaty cannot be made as much these' bodily embarrassments, we may roam to your advantage as to ours, don't make it. together through some of thė systems he I am sure the want of it is not more to our has explored, conducted by some of our old disadvantage than to yours. Let the mercompanions already, acquainted with them. chants on both sides treat with one another. Hawkesworth will enliven our progress with Laissez les faire. his cheerful, sensible,converse, and Stanley “I have never considered attentively the accompany the musio of the spheres. congress's scheme for coining, and I have it
“Mr. Watraaugh tells me, for I immedi- not now at hand, so that at present I can say ately, inquired atter Ker, that your daughter nothing to it. The chief uses of coining seem is alive and well. I remember her a most to be the ascertaining the fineness of the mepromising and beautiful child, and therefore tals, and saving the time that would otherwise do not wonder that she is grown, as he says, be spent in weighing to ascertain the quantity. a fine woman.
But the convenience of fixed values to pieces “God bless her and you, my dear friend, is so great as to force the currency of some and every thing that pertains to you, is the whose stamp is worn off, that should have as sincete prayer of yours, most affectionately, sured their fineness, and which are evidently
." B. FRANKLIN." not of half their due weight: the case at pre• In his 20 year. . sent with the sixpences in England, which one
with another do not weigh three pence. To George Wheatley.
“ You are now 78, and I am 82; you tread
fast upon my heels: but though you have *** PhiladELPHIA, May 18, 1787. more strength and spirit, you cannot come up I RECEIVED duly my good old friend's with me till I stop, which must now be soon; leczet of the 19th of February. I thank you for I am grown so old as to have buried most of much for your notes on banks, they are just and the friends of my youth, and I now often hear solid, as far as I can judge of them. Our bank persons, whom I knew when children, called here has met with great opposition, partly from old Mr. such-a-one, to distinguish them from envy, and partly from those who wish an emis- their sons, now men grown and in business; sion of more paper. money, which they think so that by living twelve years beyond David's
the bank influence prevents. But it has stood period, I seem to have intruded myself into all attacks, and went on well, notwithstand the company of posterity, when I ought to ing the assembly.repealed its charter. A new have been a-bed and asleep. Yet had I gone assembly has restored it; and the management at seventy, it would have cut off twelve of the is so prudent, that I kave no doubt of its con- most active years of my life, employed too in tinuing to go on well: the dividend has never matters of the greatest importance; but whebeen less than six per cent., nor will that be ther I have been doing good or mischief is for augmented for some time, as the surplus pro- time to discover. I only know that I intendfit is reserved to face accidents. The dividend ed well, and I hope all will end well. of eleven per cent., which was once made, was “ Be so good as to present my affectionate from a circumstance scarce unavoidable. A respects to Dr. Riley. I am under great obnew company was proposed; and 'prevented ligations to him, and shall write to him shortonly by admitting a number of new partners. ly. It will be a pleasure to him to know, that As many of the first set were averse to this, my malady does not grow sensibly worse, and and chose to withdraw, it was necessary to that is a great point: for it has always been settle their accounts; so all were adjusted, the so tolerable, as not to prevent my enjoying the profits shared that had been accumulated, and pleasures of society, and being cheerful the new and old proprietors jointly began on versation ; I owe this in a great measure to a new and equal footing. Their notes are his good counsels. always instantly paid on demand, and pass on
“ B. FRANKLIN." all occasions as readily as silver, because they will always produce silver.
“ To count Buffon, Paris. * Your medallion is in good company, it is
" PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 19, 1787. placed with those of lord Chatham, lord Cam- “Dear Sir,- I am honoured by your letter, den, marquis of Rockingham, sir George Sa- | desiring to know by what means I am relieved
in a disorder, with which you are so unfortu- | form of prayer here, which you and good nately afflicted. ! have tried all the noted Mrs. Baldwin do me the honour to approve prescriptions for diminishing the stone, with. The things of this world take up too much of out perceiving any good effect. But observ- my time, of which indeed I have too little left ing temperance in eating, avoiding wine and to undertake any thing like a reformation in cider, and using daily the dumb bell, which matters of religion. When we can sow good exercises the upper part of the body without seed, we should however do it, and wait, much moving the parts in contact with the when we can do no better, with patience, nastone, I think I have prevented its increase. ture's time for their sprouting. Some lie As the roughness of the stone lacerates a many years in the groạnd, and at length cerlittle the neck of the bladder, I find that when tain favourable seasons or circumstances the urine happens to be sharp, I have much bring them forth with vigourous shoots and pain in making water, and frequent urgencies. plentiful productions.. For relief under this circumstance, I take, “ Had I been at home, as you wish, soon after going to bed, the bigness of a pigeon's egg of the peace, I might possibly have mitigated
jelly of blackberries: the receipt for making some of the severities, against the royalists, it is enclosed. While I continue to do this believing as I do, that fear and error, rather every night, I am generally easy the day than malice, occasioned their desertion of their following, making water pretty freely, and country's cause, and adoption of the king's. with long intervals. I wish most sincerely The public resentment against them is now that this simple remedy may have the same so far abated, that none who ask leave to're happy effect with you. Perhaps currant jelly, turn are refused, and many of them now live or the jelly of apples, or of raspberries, may among us much at their ease. As to the res be equally serviceable; for I suspect the toration of confiscated estates, it is an opera, virtue of the jelly may lie principally in the tion that none of our politicians have as yet boiled sugar, which is in some degree candied ventured to propose. They are a sort of peo by the boiling of the jelly.
ple that love to fortify themselves in their Wishing you for your own sake much more projects by precedent. Perhaps they wait to ease, and for the sake of mankind many more see your government restore the forfeited years, I remain, with the greatest esteem estates in Scotland to the Scotch, those in and respect, dear sir, your most obedient and Ireland to the Irish, and those in England to affectionate servant, B. FRANKLIN." the Welch.
“I am glad that the distressed exiles who
remain with you have received, or are likely “ To Mr. Small.
to receive, some compensation for their losses " PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 28, 1787. for I commiserate their situation. It was “Dear Sir,—I received your kind letter clearly incumbent on the king to indemnify of June 6, '86, and I answered it, though long those he had seduced by his proclamations: after the receipt. I do not perceive by your but it seems not so clearly consistent with the second favour of July, '87, that my answer wisdom of parliament to resolve doing it for had then come to hand, but hope it may since him. If some mad king should think fit
in a that time.
freak to make war upon his subjects of Scot “I have not lost any of the principles of land, or upon those of England, by the help public economy you once knew me possess of Scotland and Ireland (as the Stuarts did, ed of; but to get the bad customs of a coun- may he not encourage followers by the pre try changed, and new ones, though better, cedent of those parliamentary gratuities, and introduced, it is necessary first to remove the thus set his subjects to cutting one another's prejudices of the people, enlighten their throats, first with the hope of sharing in conignorance, and convince them that their in- fiscations, and then with that of compensation terest will be promoted by the proposed in case of disappointment? The council of changes: and this is not the work of a day. brutes, without à fable, were aware of this Our legislators are all landholders; and they Lest that fable may perhaps not have fallen are not yet persuaded that all taxes are finally in your way, I enclose a copy of it. paid by the land. Besides, our country is so Your commercial treaty with France sparely settled, the habitations, particularly in seems to show a growing improvement in the the back countries, being perhaps five or six sentiments of both nations in the economical miles distant from each other, that the time science. All Europe might be a great deal and labour of the collector, in going from house happier with a little more understanding. to house, and being obliged to call
often before we in America have lately had a convention he can recover the tax, amounts to more than for framing a new constitution. Enclosed I the tax is worth, and therefore we have been send you the result of their deliberations forced into the mode of indirect taxes, i. e. Whether it will be generally acceptable, and duties on importation of goods, and excises. carried into execution, is yet to be seen; but
"I have made no attempt to introduce the I present appearances are in its favour.
"I am always glad to hear from you, and He is now gone down the Ohio, to reconnoitre of your welfare. I remember with pleasure that country. the happy days we have spent together.- “ I should have proceeded in the history you Adieu, and believe me ever, my dear friend, mention, if I could well have avoided acceptyours most affectionately,
ing the chair of president for this third and “B. FRANKLIN." last year: to which I was again elected by the
unanimous voice of council and general as
sembly in November. If I live to see this “ TO ****
year expire I may enjoy some leisure, which " PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 15, 1787.
I promise you to employ in the work you do “I HOPE the disorders in Brabant and Hol- me the honour to urge so earnestly. land may be rectified without bloodshed. But
" I sent you with my last a copy of the new I fear the impending war with the Turks, if constitution proposed for the United States by not prevented by prudent negociation, may in the late general convention. I sent one also its consequences involve great part of Europe. to our excellent friend the duke de la RocheI confide, however, that France and England foucauld. I attended the business of the conwill preserve their present peace with each
vention faithfully for four months. Enclosed other, notwithstanding some contrary appear- you have the last speech I made in it. Six ances: for I think that they have both of them states have already adopted the constitution, too much sense to go to war without an im- and there is now little doubt of its being acportant cause, as well as too little money at cepted by a sufficient number to carry it into present.
execution, if not immediately by the whole. “ As to the projected conquest from Turkey, It has however met with great opposition in I apprehend, that if the emperor and empress some states, for we are at present a nation of would make some use of arithmetic, and cal- politicians. And though there is a general culate what annual revenues may be expect
dread of giving too much power to our ga ed from the country they want, should they vernors, I think we are more in danger from acquire it, and then offer the grand signior a
too little obedience in the governed. hundred times that annual revenue, to be paid
“ We shall, as you suppose, have imposts down for an amicable purchase of it, it would on trade, and custom-houses, not because other be his interest to accept the offer, as well as nations have them, but because we cannot at theirs to make it, rather than a war for it present do without them. We want to disshould take place; since a war to acquire charge our public debt occasioned by the late that territory and to retain it, will cost both the scantily settled inhabitants of our wide ex
Direct taxes are not so easily levied on parties much more, perhaps ten times more, than such sum of purchase money. But the tended country; and what is paid in the price hope of glory and the ambition of princes are of merchandise is less felt by the consumer, not subject to arithmetical calculation. — My and less the cause of complaint. When we best wishes attend you ; being with great es
are out of debt we may leave our trade free, teem, sir, your most obedient and most humble for our ordinary charges of government will servant,
not be great.
“Where there is a free government, and
the people make their own laws by their re“ To M. Veillard, Passy.
presentatives, I see no injustice in their oblig
ing one another to take their own paper mo" PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 17, 1788. ney. It is no more so than compelling a man * MY DEAR FRIEND,—I received your kind by law to take his own note. But it is unjust letter of June 23, by Mr. Saugrain, and it is to pay strangers with such money against their the last of yours that is come to my hands. will." The making of paper money, with such As you have so much leisure, and love writ- a sanction, is however a folly, since although ing, I cannot think you have been so long si- you may by law oblige a citizen to take it for lent; you who are so good as to love me, and his goods, you cannot fix his prices; and his who know how much pleasure your letters liberty of rating them as he pleases, which is always afford me. I therefore rather suspect the same thing as setting what value he pleases you may probably have written something too on your money, defeats your sanction. freely concerning public affairs, and that your « I have been concerned to hear of the trouletters may be arrested in your post office, bles in the internal government of the country and yourself lodged in the bastile. You see I love; and hope some good may come out of I imagine, any thing however extravagant, ra- them; and that they may end without misther than suppose, (as your letters too often chief. do) that my friends forget me.
“ In your letter to my grandson, you asked " I find Mr. Saugrain to answer well the some questions that had an appearance as if good character you give of him, and shall with you meditated a visit to us. Nothing in this pleasure render him any services in my power. world would give me greater pleasure, than
Vol. I. ...4 H