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together. It is now more than sixty years since I left Boston, but I remember well both your father and grandfather, having heard them both in the pulpit, and seen them in their houses. The last time I saw your father was in the beginning of 1724, when I visited him after my first trip to Pennsylvania. ceived me in his library, and on my taking leave showed me a shorter way out of the house through a narrow passage, which crossed by a beam over head. We were still talking as I withdrew, he accompanying me behind, and I turning partly towards him, when he said hastily, Stoop, stoop! I did not understand him till I felt my head liit against the beam. He was a man that never missed any occasion of giving instruction, and upon this he said to me, You are young, and have the world before you ; STOOP as you go through it, and you will miss many hard thumps. This advice, thus beat into my head, has frequently been of use to me; and I often think of it when I see pride mortified, and misfortunes brought upon people by their carrying their heads too bigh.
I long much to see again my native place, and to lay my bones there. I left it in 1723 ; I visited it in 1733, 1743, 1753, and 1763. In 1773 I was in England ; in 1775 I had a sight of it, but could not enter, it being in possession of the enemy. I did hope to have been there in 1783, but could not obtain my dismission from this employment here ; and now I fear I shall never have that happiness. My best wishes, however, attend my dear country. Esto perpetua. It is now blessed with an excellent constitution ; may it last for ever!
To the Bishop of St. Asaph's.
Philadelphia, Feb. 24, 1786. DEAR FRIEND, I received lately your kind letter of November 27. My reception here was, as you have heard, very honourable indeed ; but I was betrayed by it, and by some remains of ambition, from which I had imagined myself free, to accept of the chair of government for the State of Pennsylvania, when the proper thing for me was repose and a private life. I hope, however, to be able to bear the fatigue for one year, and then retire.
I have much regretted our having so little opportunity for conversation when we last met,* You could have given me informations and counsels that I wanted, but we were scarce a minute together without being broken in upon. I am to thank you, however, for the pleasure I had, after our parting, in reading the new bookt you gave me, which I think generally well written and likely to do good : though the reading time of most people is of late so taken up with newspapers and little periodical pamphlets, that
* At Southampton, previous to Dr. Franklin's embarking for the United States. + Paley's Moral Philosophy.
few nowadays venture to attempt reading a quarto volume. I have admired to see that in the last century a folio, Burton on Melancholy, went through six editions in about forty years. We have, I believe, more readers now, but not of such large books.
You seem desirous of knowing what progress we make here in improving our governments. We are, I think, in the right road of improvement, for we are making experiments. I do not oppose all that seem wrong, for the multitude are more effectually set right by experience, than kept from going wrong by reasoning with them. And I think we are daily more and more enlightened ; so that I have no doubt of our obtaining, in a few years, as much public felicity as good government is capable of affording. *
As to my domestic circumstances, of which you kindly desire to hear something, they are at present as happy as I could wish them. I am surrounded by my offspring, a dutiful and affectionate daughter in my house, with six grandchildren, the eldest of which you have seen, who is now at college in the next street, finishing the learned part of his education ; the others promising both for parts and good dispositions. What their conduct may be when they grow up and enter the important scenes of life, I shall not live to see, and I cannot foresee. I therefore enjoy among them the present hour, and leave the future to Providence.
To the Bishop of St. Asaph's
He that raises a large family does, indeed, while he lives to observe them, stand, as Watts says, a broader mark for sorrow; but then he stands a broader mark for pleasure too. When we launch our little fleet of barks into the ocean, bound to different ports, we hope for each a prosperous voyage ; but contrary winds, hidden shoals, storms, and enemies, come in for a share in the disposition of events ; and though these occasion a mixture of disappointment, yet, considering the risk where we can make no ensurance, we should think ourselves happy if some return with success. My son's son (Temple Franklin), whom you have also seen, having had a fine farm of 600 acres conveyed to him by his father when we were at Southampton, has dropped for the present his views of acting in the political line, and applies himself ardently to the study and practice of agriculture. This is much more agreeable to me, who esteem it the most useful, the most independent, and, therefore, the noblest of employments. His lands are on navigable water, communicating with the Delaware, and but about 16 miles from this city. He has associated to himself a very skilful English farmer, lately arrived here, who is to instruct him in the business and partakes for a term of the profits ; so that there is a great apparent probability of their success. You will kindly expect a word or two about myself. My health and spirits continue, thanks to God, as when you