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intercept us, and recover their ships, if possible. With great esteem for yourself and the Committee, I have the honor to be, &c.
TO A FRIEND IN AMERICA.
His Situation in France.
Passy, 25 October, 1779.
I received your kind letter of February 14th,
the contents of which gave me a kind of melancholy satisfaction. The greater ease you will now enjoy makes some compensation in my mind for the uncomfortable circumstance that brought it about. I hope you will have no more affliction of that kind, and that, after so long and stormy a day, your evening may be serene and pleasant.
The account you have had of the vogue I am in here has some truth in it. Perhaps few strangers in France have had the good fortune to be so universally popular; but the story you allude to, mentioning "mechanic rust," is totally without foundation. But one is not to expect being always in fashion. I hope, however, to preserve, while I stay, the regard you mention of the French ladies; for their society and conversation, when I have time to enjoy them, are extremely agreeable.
The enemy have been very near you indeed. When only at the distance of a mile, you must have been much alarmed. We have given them a little taste of this disturbance upon their own coasts this summer; and, though we have burnt none of their towns, we have occasioned a good deal of terror and busde in many of them, as they imagined our Commodore Jones had four thousand troops with him for descents.
VOL. VIII. 26
I am glad to learn that my dear sister continued in good health, and good spirits, and that she had learnt not to be afraid of her friend, fresh air. With the tenderest affection, &c.
TO SAMUEL COOPER.
American Privateers. — Commodore Jones. — Rumor of Peace. — Importation of Superfluities.
Passy, 27 October, 1779.
It is a long time since I have had the pleasure of hearing from you. The intelligence you were used to favor me with was often useful to our affairs. I hope I have not lost your friendship, together with your correspondence. Our excellent Mr. Winthrop, I see, is gone. He was one of those old friends, for the sake of whose society I wished to return and spend the small remnant of my days in New England. A few more such deaths will make me a stranger in my own country. The loss of friends is the tax a man pays for living long himself. I find it a heavy one.
You will see by the newspapers that we have given some disturbance to the British coasts this year. One little privateer out of Dunkirk, the Black Prince, with a Congress commission, and a few Americans mixed with the Irish and English smugglers, went round their Islands and took thirty-seven prizes in less than three months. The little squadron of Commodore Jones, under the same commission and colors, has alarmed those coasts exceedingly, occasioned a good deal of internal expense, done great damage to their trade, and taken two frigates, with four hundred prisoners. He is now with his principal prizes in Holland, where he is pretty well received, but must quit that neutral country as soon as his damages are repaired. The English watch with a superior force his coming out, but we hope he will manage so as to escape their vigilance. Few actions at sea have demonstrated such steady, cool, determined bravery, as that of Jones in taking the Serapis.
There has been much rumor this summer throughout Europe, of an approaching peace, through the mediation of Russia and Holland; but it is understood to arise from the invention of stockjobbers and others interested in propagating such opinions. England seems not to be yet sufficiently humbled, to acknowledge the independence of the American States, or to treat with them on that footing; and our friends will not make a peace on any other. So we shall probably see another campaign.
By the invoices I have seen and heard of, sent hither with Congress interest bills of exchange to purchase the goods, it should seem that there is not so great a want of necessaries as of superfluities among our people. It is difficult to conceive that your distresses can be great, when one sees that much the greatest part of that money is lavished in modes, and gewgaws, and tea! Is it impossible for us to become wiser, when by simple economy, and avoiding unnecessary expenses, we might more than defray the charge of the war. We export solid provision of all kinds, which is necessary for the sustenance of man, and we import fashions, luxuries, and trifles. Such trade may enrich the traders, but never the country.
The good will of all Europe to our cause as being the cause of liberty, which is the cause of mankind, still continues, as does the universal wish to see the English pride humiliated, and their power curtailed. Those circumstances are encouraging, and give hopes of a happy issue. Which may God grant, and that you, my friend, may live long a blessing to your country. I am, &c. B. Franklin.
TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN.
On his Edition of Dr. Franklin's Writings.
Passy, 9 November, 1779.
I have received several kind letters from you, which I have not regularly answered. They gave me however great pleasure, as they acquainted me with your welfare, and that of your family and other friends; and I hope you will continue writing to me as often as you can do it conveniently.
I thank you much for the great care and pains you have taken in regulating and correcting the edition of those papers. Your friendship for me appears in almost every page; and if the preservation of any of them should prove of use to the public, it is to you that the public will owe the obligation. In looking them over, I have noted some faults of impression that hurt the sense, and some other little matters, which you will find all in a sheet under the title of Errata. You can best judge whether it may be worth while to add any of them to the errata already printed, or whether it may not be as well to reserve the whole for correction in another edition, if such should ever be. Enclosed I send a more perfect copy of the Chapter*
• Alluding to the celebrated Parable against Persecution. See Vol. II. p. 118. Mr. Vaughan had reprinted it from the copy first published by Lord Karnes, which was imperfect
If I should ever recover the pieces that were in the hands of my son, and those I left among my papers in America, I think there may be enough to make three more such volumes, of which a great part would be more interesting.
As to the time of publishing, of which you ask my opinion, I am not furnished with any reasons, or ideas of reasons, on which to form any opinion. Naturally I should suppose the bookseller to be from experience the best judge, and I should be for leaving it to him.
I did not write the pamphlet you mention. I know nothing of it. I suppose it is the same, concerning which Dr. Priestley formerly asked me the same question. That for which he took it was entitled, A Dissertation on Liberty and JYecessity, Pleasure and Pain, with these lines in the titlepage.*
"Whatever is, is right. But purblind man
London. Printed MDCCXXV.
I return the manuscripts you were so obliging as to send me; I am concerned at your having no other copies, I hope these will get safe to your hands. I do not remember the Duke de Chaulnes showing me the letter you mention. I have received Dr. Crawford's book, but not your abstract, which I wait for as you desire.
I send you also M. Dupont's Table Economique, which I think an excellent thing, as it contains in a clear method all the principles of that new sect, called here les Economistes.
* No copy of this tract is now known to be in existence. It was written and printed by Franklin when he first visited England in bis youth. He gives an account of it in his autobiography.