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liament did not think the petitions of such creatures were fit to be received and read in so wise an assembly. What was the consequence of this monstrous pride and insolence? You first sent small armies to subdue us, believing them more than sufficient, but soon found yourselves obliged to send greater; these, whenever they ventured to penetrate our country beyond the protection of their ships, were either repulsed, and obliged to scamper out, or were surrounded, beaten, and taken prisoners. An American planter who had never seen Europe, was chosen by us to command our troops, and continued during the whole war. This man sent home to you, one after another, five of your best generals baffled, their heads bare of laurels, disgraced even in the opinion of their employers. Your contempt of our understandings in compatison with your own, appeared to be not much better founded than that of our courage, if we may judge by this circumstance, that in whatever court of Europe a Yankey uegociator appeared, the wise British minister was routed, put in a passion, picked a quarrel with your friends, and was sent hoQic with a flea in his ear. But after all, my dear friend, do not imagine that I am vain enough to ascribe our success to any superiority in any of those points. I am too well acquainted with all the springs and levers of our machine, not to see, that our human means were unequal to our undertaking, and that if it had not been for the justice of our cause, and the consequent interposition of Providence, in which we had faith, we must have been ruined. If 1 had ever before been an atheist, I should now have been convinced of the being and government of a Deity! It is he who abases the proud and favors the humble. May we never forget his goodness to us, and may our future conduct manifest our gratitude! ; • -; - -: •'.i-•- i •-
But let us leave these serious reflections and converse with our usual pleasantry. I remember your observing once to me, as we sat together in the house of commons, that no two journeymen printers within your knowledge, had met with such success in the world as ourselves. You were then at the head of your profession, and soon afterwards became a member of parliament.. I was an agent for a few provinces, and now act for them all. But we have risen by different modes. I, as a republican printer, always liked a form well plained down; being averse to those overbearing letters that hold their heads so high as to hinder their neighbors from appearing. You, as a monarchist, chose to work upon crown paper, and found it profitable; while I worked upon pro palria (often indeed calledybo/i-cap) with no less advantage. Both our heaps hold out very well, and we seem likely to make a pretty good day's work of it. With regard to public affairs, (to continue in the same style) it seems to me that the compositors m your chapel do not cast off their copy well, nor perfectly understand imposing: their forms too are continually pestered by the outs, and doubles, that are not easy to be corrected. And I think they were wrong in laying aside some faces, and particularly certain head-pieces, that would have been both useful and ornamental. But, courage! The business may still florish with good management; and the master become as rich as any of the company.
By the way, the rapid growth and extension of the English language in America must become greatly advantageous to the booksellers, and holders of copy-rights in England. A vast audience is assembling there for English authors, ancient, present, and future, our people doubling every twenty years; and this will demand large and of course profitable impressions of your most valuable books. I would, therefore, if I possessed such rights, entail them, if such a thing be practicable, upon my posterity; for their worth will be continually augmenting. This may look a little like advice, and yet I have drank no Madeira these six months. The subject, however, leads me to another thought, which is, that you do wrong to discourage the emigration of Englishmen to America. Jn my piece on population, I have proved, I think, that emigration does not diminish, but multiplies a nation. You will not have fewer at home for those that go abroad; and as every man who comes among us, and takes up a piece of land, becomes a citizen, and by our constitution has a voice in elections, and a share in the government of the country, why should you be against acquiring by this fair means a repossession of it, and leave it to be taken by foreigners of all nations and languages, who by their numbers may drown and stifle the English, which otherwise would probably become in the course of two centuries the most extensive language in the world, the Spanish only excepted? It is a fact, that the Irish emigrants and their children are now in possession of the government of Pennsylvania, by their majority in the assembly, as well as of a great part of the territory; and I remember well the first ship that brought any of them over. I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
To George Wheatley, Esq. Treasurer Of The Foundling Hospital, London.
Tract on the principles of trade—Foundling Hospital— Double spectacles.
Passy, near Paris, Aug. 21, 1784. My Dear Old Friend,
I received your kind letter of May 3, 1783. I am ashamed that it has been so long unanswered. The indolence of old age, frequent indisposition, and too much business, are rhy only excuses. I had great pleasure in reading it, as it informed me of your welfare.
Your excellent little work, the Principles of Trade, is too little known. i wish you would send me a copy of it by the return of my grandson and secretary, whom I beg leave to recommend to your civilities. I would get it translated and printed here. And if your bookseller has any quantity of them left, I should be glad he would send them to America. The ideas of our people there, though rather better than those that prevail in Europe, are not so good as they should be; and that piece might be of service among them.
Since and soon after the date of your letter, we lost unaccountably as well as unfortunately that worthy valuable young man you mention, your name-sake, Maddison. He was infinitely regretted by all that knew him.
I am sorry your favorite charity* does not go on as you could wish it. It is shrunk indeed by your admitting only GO children in a year. What you have told your brethren respecting America is true. If you find it difficult to dispose of your children in England, it looks as if you had too many people. And yet you are afraid of emigration. A subscription is lately set on foot here to encourage and assist mothers in nursing their infants themselves at home; the practice of sending them to the Enfants trouvts having risen here to a monstrous excess, as by the annual bill it appears they amount to near one-third of the children bora in Paris! The subscription is likely to succeed, and may do a great deal of good, thdugh it cannot answer all the purposes of a Foundling Hospital.
Your eyes must continue very good since you can write so small a hand without spectacles. I cannot distinguish a
* The Foundling Hospital.
letter even of large print; but am happy in the invention of double spectacles,' which serving for distant objects as well as near ones, make my eyes as useful to me as ever they were. If all the other defects and infirmities were as easily and cheaply remedied, it would be worth while for friends to live a good deal longer, but I look upon death to be as necessary to our constitution as sleep. We shall rise refreshed in the morning. Adieu, and believe me ever yours most affectionately, B. Franklin.
To # # # »
General Melvill—Profession of Faith—The Old Testament.
Dear Sir, Passy, August 21, 1784.
Understanding that my letter intended for you by General Melvill was lost at the Hotel d'Espagne, I take this opportunity, by my grandson, to give you the purport of it, as well as I can recollect. I thanked you for the pleasure you had procured me of the general's conversation, whom I found a judicious, sensible, and amiable man. I was glad to hear that you possessed a comfortable retirement, and more so that you had thoughts of removing to Philadelphia, for that it would make me very happy to have you there. Your companions would be very acceptable to the library, but I hoped you would long live to enjoy their company yourself. I agreed with you iu sentiments concerning the Old Testament, and thought the clause in our constitutions which required the members of assembly to declare their belief, that the whole of it was given by divine inspiration, had better
* See a particular description of the same in letter to Geor?e Wheatley, Esq. May 23, 1785.
1 Supposed to Dr. Priestley.