« ZurückWeiter »
to hear of your safe arrival, and that the reception you met with in my country had been agreeable to you. I hope its air will suit you, and that, while you reside in it, you will enjoy constant health and happiness.
Your good brother does me sometimes the honor of calling on me, and we converse in English, which he speaks very intelligibly. I suppose that by this time you do the same. M. de Malesherbes did me lately the same honor. That great man seems to have no wish of returning into public employment, but amuses himself with planting, and is desirous of obtaining all those trees of North America, that have not yet been introduced into France. Your sending him a box of the seeds would, I am persuaded, much oblige him. They may be obtained of my young friend Bartram, living near Philadelphia.
You will have heard that Spain has lately met with a little misfortune at sea, but the bravery with which her ships fought a vastly superior force has gained her great honor. We are anxious here for further news from that coast, which is daily expected. Great preparations are making here for the ensuing campaign, and we flatter ourselves that it will be more active and successful in Europe than the last.
One of the advantages of great states is, that the calamity occasioned by a foreign war falls only on a very small part of the community, who happen from their situation and particular circumstances to be exposed to it. Thus as it is always fair weather in our parlours, it is at Paris always peace. The people pursue their respective occupations; the playhouses, the opera, and other public diversions, are as regularly and fully attended, as in times of profoundest tranquillity, and the same small concerns divide us into parties. Within these few weeks we are for or against Jeannot, a new actor. This man's performance, and the marriage of the Duke de Richelieu, fill up much more of our present conversation, than any thing that relates to the war. A demonstration this of the public felicity.
My grandson joins with me in best wishes for your health and prosperity. He is much flattered by your kind remembrance of him. We desire also that M. de Marbois * would accept our assurances of esteem. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect, Sir, &c. B. Franklin.
TO FRANCIS HOPKINSON.
Dr. Ingenhousz. — Newly invented Telescope.
Passy, 6 March, 1780.
i thank you for your political Squibs; they are well made. I am glad to find you have such plenty of good powder.
You propose that Kill-pig, the butcher, should operate upon himself. You will find some thoughts on that subject in a little piece called Ji Merry Song about Murder, in a London newspaper I send herewith.
The greatest discovery made in Europe for some time past is that of Dr. Tngenhousz's relating to the great use of the leaves of trees in producing wholesome air. I would send you his book, if I had it . A new instrument is lately invented here,t a kind of telescope, which by means of Iceland crystal occa
• Secretary of the French Legation in the United States,
sions the double appearance of an object, and, the two appearances being farther distant from each other in proportion to the distance of the object from the eye, by moving an index on a graduated line till the two appearances coincide, you find on the line the real distance of the object. I am not enough master of this instrument to describe it accurately, having seen it but once; but it is very ingeniously contrived.
Remember me respectfully to your mother and sisters, and believe me ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, B. Franklin.
FROM R. BERNSTORFF, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS IN DENMARK, TO B. FRANKLIN.
On the Seizure of the American Prizes in Norway. Translation.
Copenhagen, 8 March, 1780.
Sir, Were you a person less known and respected, I should have been quite at a loss on the subject of the letter, which I have had the honor of receiving from you, which did not come to hand till the 31st of January. I should have considered it as a measure calculated to place us under a new embarrassment as painful as the first; but there is no fear nor risk with such a sage as you are, Sir, generally respected by that universe which you have enlightened, and known for that prevailing love for truth which characterizes tfie good man and the true philosopher. These are the titles, which will transmit your name to the remotest posterity, and in which I am particularly interested at the time, when the situation of affairs imposes on me the necessity of divesting myself of every pub
VOL. VIII. 28
lie character, in writing to you, and only to aspire at appearing to you what I truly am, the earnest friend of peace, truth, and merit .
This mode of thinking not only decides my personal sentiments with respect to you, but also those I have respecting the unfortunate affair, which you have thought fit to mention to me, and which, from its commencement, has given me the utmost pain. You will readily agree with me, Sir, in granting, that there are perplexing situations in which it is impossible to avoid displeasing one party. You are too equitable not to enter into ours. There would be no consolation in such cases, nor would the persons who have been led into them ever be forgiven, were it not that opportunities sometimes present themselves of being heard, and preventing in future such essential embarrassments.
The Baron de Blome will speak to you in confidence, and with the utmost freedom on this subject; and, if my wishes can be accomplished, I shall be recompensed for all my pains, and there will only remain the agreeable recollection of having had the satisfaction of assuring you, from under my hand, of that perfect esteem with which I have the honor of being, Sir, &c. R. Bernstorff.
TO JAMES LOVELL.
JIffairs in England.
Passy, 16 March, 1780.
Dear Sir, The Marquis de Lafayette, our firm and constant friend, returning to America, I have written a long letter by him to the President, of which a copy goes by this ship. M. Gerard is since arrived, and I have received the despatches you mentioned to me, but no letter in answer to mine, a very long one, by the Chevalier de la Luzerne, nor any acknowledgment that it came to hand.
By the many newspapers and pamphlets I send, you will see the present state of European affairs in general. Ireland continues to insist on complete liberty, and will probably obtain it. The meetings of counties in England, and the committees of correspondence they appoint, alarm a good deal the ministry, especially since it has been proposed to elect out of each committee a few persons to assemble in London, which, if carried into execution, will form a kind of Congress, that will have more of the confidence and support of the people than the old Parliament. If the nation is not too corrupt, as I rather think it is, some considerable reformation of internal abuses may be expected from this. With regard to us, the only advantage to be reasonably expected from it is a peace, the general bent of the nation being for it.
The success of Admiral Rodney's fleet against our allies has a little elated our enemies for the present, and probably they will not now think of proposing it. If the approaching campaign, for which great preparations are making here, should end disadvantageously to them, they will be more treatable; for their debts and taxes are daily becoming more burdensome, while their commerce, the source of their wealth, diminishes; and, though they have flattered themselves with obtaining assistance from Russia and other powers, it does not appear they are likely to succeed; on the contrary, they are in danger of losing the neutrality of Holland.
Their conduct with regard to the exchange of prisoners has been very unjust. After long suspense and affected delays for the purpose of wearing out our