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of those taken by the French, with whom we have an account since the exchange in Holland of those we carried in there. I wish therefore you would, as was proposed, clear your prisons of the Americans, who have been so long confined there. The cartels, that may arrive at Morlaix, will not be detained.
You may have heard, that accounts upon oath have been taken in America, by order of Congress, of the British barbarities committed there. It is expected of me to make a schoolbook of them, and to have thirtyfive prints designed here by good artists, and engraved, each expressing one or more of the different horrid facts, to be inserted in the book, in order to impress the minds of children and posterity with a deep sense of your bloody and insatiable malice and wickedness. Every kindness I hear of, done by an Englishman to an American prisoner, makes me resolve not to proceed in the work, hoping a reconciliation may yet take place. But every fresh instance of your devilism weakens that resolution, and makes me abominate the thought of a reunion with such a people. You, my friend, have often persuaded me, and I believed it, that the war was not theirs, nor approved by them. But their suffering it so long to continue, and the wretched rulers to remain who carry it on, makes me think you have too good an opinion of them. Adieu, my dear friend, &c
TO RICHARD PRICE.
Passy, 6 February, 1780.
I received but very lately your kind favor of October 14th, Dr. Ingenhousz, who brought it, having stayed long in Holland. I sent that enclosed directly to Mr. Lee. It gave me great pleasure to understand that you continue well. Your writings, after all the abuse you and they have met with, begin to make serious impressions on those who at first rejected the counsels you gave; and they will acquire new weight every day, and be in high esteem when the cavils against them are dead and forgotten.
Please to present my affectionate respects to that honest, sensible, and intelligent Society,* who did me so long the honor of admitting me to share in their instructive conversations. I never think of the hours I so happily spent in that company, without regretting that they are never to be repeated; for I see no prospect of an end to this unhappy war in my time. Dr. Priestley, you tell me, continues his experiments with success. We make daily great improvements in natural, there is one I wish to see in moral philosophy; the discovery of a plan, that would induce and oblige nations to settle their disputes without first cutting one another's throats. When will human reason be sufficiently improved to see the advantage of this? When will men be convinced, that even successful wars at length become misfortunes to those, who unjustly commenced them, and who triumphed blindly in their success, not seeing all its consequences. Your great comfort and mine in this war is, that we honestly and faithfully did every thing in our power to prevent it. Adieu, and believe me ever, my dear friend, yours, &.c. B. Franklin.
* Supposed to allude to a Club at the London Coffee-house. VOL. VIII. 27
TO JOSEPH PRIESTLEY.
True Science and its Progress. — Inconveniences attend all Situations in Life.
Passy, 8 February, 1780
Your kind letter of September 27th came to hand but very lately, the bearer having stayed long in Holland. I always rejoice to hear of your being still employed in experimental researches into nature, and of the success you meet with. The rapid progress true science now makes, occasions my regretting sometimes that I was born so soon. It is impossible to imagine the height to which may be carried, in a thousand years, the power of man over matter. We may perhaps learn to deprive large masses of their gravity, and give them absolute levity, for the sake of easy transport. Agriculture may diminish its labor and double its produce; all diseases may by sure means be prevented or cured, not excepting even that of old age, and our lives lengthened at pleasure even beyond the antediluvian standard. O that moral science were in as fair a way of improvement, that men would cease to be wolves to one another, and that human beings would at length learn what they now improperly call humanity!
I am glad my little paper on the Aurora Borealis pleased. If it should occasion further inquiry, and so produce a better hypothesis, it will not be wholly useless. I am ever, with the greatest and most sincere esteem, dear Sir, &c.
Enclosed in the foregoing Letter; being an Answer to a separate Paper received from Dr. Priestley.
I have considered the situation of that person very attentively. I think that, with a little help from the Moral Algebra* he might form a better judgment than any other person can form for him. But, since my opinion seems to be desired, I give it for continuing to the end of the term, under all the present disagreeable circumstances. The connexion will then die a natural death. No reason will be expected to be given for the separation, and of course no offence taken at reasons given; the friendship may still subsist, and in some other way be useful. The time diminishes daily, and is usefully employed. All human situations have their inconveniences; we feel those that we find in the present, and we neither feel nor see those that exist in another. Hence we make frequent and troublesome changes without amendment, and often for the worse.
In my youth, I was passenger in a little sloop, descending the river Delaware. There being no wind, we were obliged, when the ebb Was spent, to cast anchor, and wait for the next. The heat of the sun on the vessel was excessive, the company strangers to me, and not very agreeable. Near the river side I saw what I took to be a pleasant green meadow, in the middle of which was a large shady tree, where it struck my fancy I could sit and read, (having a book in my pocket,) and pass the time agreeably till the tide turned. I therefore prevailed with the captain to put me ashore. Being landed, I found the greatest part of my meadow was really a marsh, in
• See letter to Dr. Priestley, dated September 19th, 1772. p. 2a
crossing which, to come at my tree, I was up to my knees in mire; and I had not placed myself under its shade five minutes, before the mosquitoes in swarms found me out, attacked my legs, hands, and face, and made my reading and my rest impossible; so that I returned to the beach, and called for the boat to come and take me on board again, where I was obliged to bear the heat I had strove to quit, and also the laugh of the company. Similar cases in the affairs of life have since frequently fallen under my observation.
I have had thoughts of a college for him in America. I know no one who might be more useful to the public in the instruction of youth. But there are possible unpleasantnesses in that situation; it cannot be obtained but by a too hazardous voyage at this time for a family; and the time for experiments would be all otherwise engaged.*
TO JOHN PAUL JONES.
Passy, 19 February, 1780.
I received yours from Carone of the 16th past, and from L'Orient of the 13th instant. I rejoice that you are so safely arrived in France, malgre all the pains taken to intercept you.
As to the refitting of your ship at the expense of
* The advice contained in this paper related to Dr. Priestley himself, who had engaged to live with Lord Shelburne, as his librarian, at a salary of about three hundred pounds per annum, for a certain number of years; but, before the term had expired, he became dissatisfied with his situation, and requested counsel from Dr. Franklin on the subject.—W. T. F.