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phical Society, 1 to which I wish all imaginable success. Their rules appear to me excellent.
To Mess. Weems And Gant, Citizens Of The United States, London;
On their wish to obtain ordination.
Gentlemen, Passy,near Paris, July 18, 1784.
On receipt of your letter, acquainting me that the archbishop of Canterbury 1 would not permit you to be ordained unless you took the oath of allegiance, I applied to a clergyman of my acquaintance for information on the subject of your obtaining ordination here. His opinion was, that it could not be done; and that if it were done, you would be required to vow obedience to the archbishop of Paris. I next inquired of the pope's nuncio, whether you might not be ordained by their bishop in America, powers being sent him for that purpose, if he has them not already? The answer was, the thing is impossible, unless the gentlemen become Catholics.
This is an affair of which I know very little, and therefore I may ask questions and propose means that are improper or impracticable. But what is the necessity of your being connected with the church of England? Would it not be as well if you were of the church of Ireland? the religion is the same, though there is a different set of bishops and archbishops. Perhaps if you were to apply to the bishop of Derry,3 who is a man of liberal sentiments, he might give you orders as of that church. If both Britain and Ireland
'The Philosophical Society of Manchester, of which Dr.Percival was one of the principal founders and ornaments.
J Dr. Moore. ?Lord Bristol.
refuse you, (and I am not sure that the bishops of Denmark or Sweden would ordain you, unless you became Lutherans) what is then to be done? Next to becoming presbyterians, the episcopalian clergy of America, in my humble opinion, cannot do better than to follow the example of the first clergy of Scotland, soon after the conversion of that country to Christianity, who, when their king had built the cathedral of St. Andrews, and requested the king of Northumberland to lend his bishops to ordain one for them, that their clergy might not as heretofore be obliged to go to Northumberland for orders, and their request was refused; they assembled in the eathedral; and the mitre, crozier, and robes of a bishop being laid upon the altar, they, after earnest prayers for direction in their choice, elected one of their own number; when the king said to him, Arise, go to the altar, and receive your office at the hand of God. His brethren led him to the altar, robed him, put the crozier in his hand, and the mitre on his head, and he became the first bishop of Scotland.
If the British islands were sunk in the sea (and the surface of this globe has suffered greater changes), you would probably take some such method as this: and if they persist in denying you ordination, it is the same thing. An hundred years hence, when people are more enlightened, it will be wondered at, that men in America, qualified by their learning and piety to pray for and instruct their neighbors, should not be permitted to do it till they had made a voyage of 6000 miles out and home, to ask leave of a cross old gentleman at Canterbury; who seems, by your account, to have as little regard for the souls of the people of Maryland, as king William's attorneygeneral, Seymour, had for those of Virginia. The reverend commissary, Blair, who projected the college of that province, and was in England to solicit benefactions and a charter, relates, that the queen in the king's absence, having ordered Seymour to draw up the charter which was to be given, with 2000/. in money, he opposed the grant; saying, that the nation was engaged in an expensive war, that the money was wanted for better purposes, and he did not see the least occasion for a college in Virginia. Blair represented to him, that its intention was to educate and qualify young men to be ministers of the gospel, much wanted there; and begged Mr. Attorney would consider that the people of Virginia had souls . to be saved as well as the people of England. Souls! (said he,) damn your souls! Make tobacco! I have the honor to be, gentlemen, 8cc. B.franklin.
To B. Vaughan, Esq.
Various matter—Restraints on commerce—Luxury and industry, fyc.
Dear Friend, Passy, July 26, 1784.
I have received several letters from you lately, dated June 16, June 30, and July 13. I thank you for the information respecting the proceedings of your West India merchants, or rather planters. The restraints, whatever they may be upon our commerce with your islands, will prejudice their inhabitants, I apprehend, more than us. It is wonderful how preposterously the affairs of this world are managed. Naturally one would imagine that the interests of a few particulars should give way to general interest. But particulars manage their affairs with so much more application, industry, and address than the public do theirs, that general interest most commonly gives way to particular. We assemble parliaments and councils to have the benefit of their collected wisdom, but we necessarily have at the same time the inconvenience of their collected passions, prejudices, and private interests. By the help of these, artful men overpower the wisdom, and dup« its possessors;; and if we may judge by the acts, decrees, and
edicts all the world over for regulating commerce, an assembly of wise men is the greatest fool upon earth.
I have received Cook's Voyages, which you put Mr. Oswald in the way of sending to me. By some mistake the first volume was omitted, and instead of it a duplicate sent of the third. If there is a good print of Cook I should be glad to have it, being personally acquainted with him. I thank you for the pamphlets by Mr. Estlin. Every thing you send me gives me pleasure; to receive your account would give me more than all.
I am told that the little pamphlet of advice to such as would remove to America,' is reprinted in London, with my name to it, which I would rather had been omitted; but wish to see a copy when you have an opportunity of sending it.
Mr. Hartley has long continued here in expectation of instructions for making a treaty of commerce, but they do not come, and I begin to suspect none are intended ; though perhaps the delay is only occasioned by the over-great burthen of business at present on the shoulders of your ministers. We do not press the matter, but are content to wait till they can see their interest respecting America more clearly, being certain that we can shift as well as you without a treaty.
The conjectures I sent you concerning the cold of last winter still appear to me probable: the moderate season in Russia and Canada does not weaken them. I think our frost here began about the 24th of December, in America the 12th of January. I thauk you for recommending to me Mr. Arbuthnot; I have had pleasure in his conversation. I wish much to see the new pieces you had in hand. I congratulate you on the return of your wedding-day, aud wish for your sake
1 See Writings, Part m. MuceUanim, Sec. 2.
and Mrs. Vaughan's, that you may see a great many of them, all as happy as the first.
I like the young stranger very much: he seems sensible, ingenious, and modest, has a good deal of instruction, and makes judicious remarks. He will probably distinguish himself advantageously.
I have not yet heard from Mr. Naime.
Dr. Price's pamphlet of advice to America is a good one, and will do good. You ask "what remedy I have for the growing luxury of my country, which gives so much offence to all English travellers without exception?" I answer, that I think it exaggerated, and that travellers are no good judges, whether our luxury is growing or diminishing. Our people are hospitable, and have indeed too much pride in displaying upon their tables before strangers the plenty and variety that our country affords. They have the vanity too of sometimes borrowing one another's plate, to entertain more splendidly. Strangers being invited from house to house, and meeting' every day with a feast, imagine what they see is the ordinary way of living of all the families where they dine; when perhaps each family lives a week after upon the remains of the dinner given. It is, I own, a folly in our people to give such offence to English travellers. The first part of the proverb is thereby verified, that fools make feasts. I wish in this case the other were as true, and wise men eat them. These travellers might, one would think, find some fault they could more decently reproach us with, than that of our excessive civility to them as strangers.
I have not indeed yet thought of a remedy for luxury: I am not sure that in a great state it is capable of a remedy; nor that the evil is in itself always so great as it is represented. Suppose we include in the definition of luxury all unnecessary expense, and then let us consider whether laws to prevent