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"If he excites domestic insurrections among their servants, and encourages servants to murder their masters;
"Does not so atrocious a conduct towards his subjects dissolve their allegiance?
"If not, please to say how or by what means it can possibly be dissolved?
"All this horrible wickedness and barbarity has been
and daily is practised by the , your master, (as
you call him in your memorial,) upon the Americans, whom he is still pleased to claim as his subjects.
"During these six years past, he has destroyed not less than forty thousand of those subjects, by battles on land or sea, or by starving them, or poisoning them to death, in the unwholesome air, with the unwholesome food, of his prisons. And he has wasted the lives of at least an equal number of his own soldiers and sailors; many of whom have been forced into this odious service, and dragged from their families and friends, by the outrageous violence of his illegal press-gangs. You are a gentleman of letters, and have read history; do you recollect any instance of any tyrant, since the beginning of the world, who, in the course of so few
years, had done so much mischief, by?
Let. us view one of the worst and blackest of them, Nero. He put to death a few of his courtiers, placemen, and pensioners, and among the rest his tutor.
Had done the same, and no more, his
crime, though detestable, as an act of lawless power, might have been as useful to his nation, as that of Nero was hurtful to Rome; considering the different characters and merits of the sufferers. Nero indeed wished that the people of Rome had but one neck, that he might behead them all by one stroke; but this was a
simple wish. is carrying the wish as fast as he
can into execution; and, by continuing in his present course a few years longer, will have destroyed more of the people than Nero could have found inhabitants in Rome. Hence the expression of Milton, in speaking of Charles the First, that he was 'Nerone
Neronior,' is still more applicable to .
Like Nero, and all other tyrants, while they lived, he indeed has his flatterers, his addressers, his applauders. Pensions, places, and hopes of preferment can bribe even bishops to approve his conduct; but, when those fulsome purchased addresses and panegyrics are sunk and lost in oblivion or contempt, impartial history will step forth, speak honest truth, and rank him among public calamities. The only difference will be, that plagues, pestilences, and famines are of this world, and arise from the nature of things; but voluntary malice,
mischief, and murder, are from hell; and this
will, therefore, stand foremost in the list of diabolical, bloody, and execrable tyrants. His base-bought Parliaments too, who sell him their souls, and extort from the people the money with which they aid his destructive purposes, as they share his guilt, will share his infamy; Parliaments, who, to please him, have repeatedly, by different votes year after year, dipped their hands in human blood, insomuch that methinks I see it dried and caked so thick upon them, that, if they could wash it off in the Thames, which flows under their windows, the whole river would run red to the ocean.
"One is provoked by enormous wickedness; but one is ashamed and humiliated at the view of human baseness. It afflicts me, therefore, to see a gentleman
of Sir J. Y 's education and talents, for the sake of a
red riband and a paltry stipend, mean enough to style
such a his master, wear his livery, and hold
himself ready at his command even to cut the throats of fellow subjects. This makes it impossible for me to end my letter with the civility of a compliment, and obliges me to subscribe myself simply,
On Dr. Franklin's return to his native country, from his long mission to France, he received congratulatory addresses from various public bodies. Some of these are here inserted, with his answers. — Editor.
ADDRESS OF THE ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA.
The representatives of the freemen of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in General Assembly met, in the most affectionate manner congratulate you on your safe arrival in your country after so long an absence on the most important business. We likewise congratulate you on the firm establishment of the independence of America, and the settlement of a general peace, after the interesting struggle in which we were so long engaged.
We are confident, Sir, that we speak the sentiments of this whole country, when we say, that your services, in the public councils and negotiations, have not only merited the thanks of the present generation, but will be recorded in the pages of history, to your immortal honor. And it is particularly pleasing to us, that, while we are sitting as members of the Assembly of Pennsylvania, we have the happiness of welcoming into the state a person, who was so greatly instrumental in forming its free constitution.
Vol. v. 18 L*
May it please God to give you a serene and peaceful enjoyment of the evening of life, and a participation of that happiness you have been so instrumental in securing to others!
Signed by order of the House,
John Bayard, Speaker. Assembly Chambers, September 15th, 1785.
Dr. Franklin's Answer.
Mr. Speaker And Gentlemen, I am extremely happy to find by your friendly and affectionate address, that my endeavours to serve our country in the late important struggle have met with the approbation of so respectable a body as the representatives of the freemen of Pennsylvania. I esteem that approbation as one of the greatest honors of my life. I hope the peace with which God has been graciously pleased to bless us may be lasting, and that the free constitution we now enjoy may long contribute to promote our common felicity. The kind wishes of the General Assembly for my particular happiness affect me very sensibly, and I beg they would accept my thankful acknowledgments.