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explain; so that I understand French tetter by the help of my spectacles. .„• ,'
My intended translator of your piece, the only one I know who understands the subject, as well as the twq languages, (which a translator ought to do, or he cannot make so good a translation), is at present occupied in an affair that prevents his undertaking it; but that will soon be over. I thank you for the notes. I should be glad to have another of the printed pamphlets.
We shall always be ready to take your children if you send them to us. I only wonder, that since London draws tq itself, and consumes such numbers of your country people, the country should not, to supply their places, want and willingly receive the children you have to dispose of. That circumstance, together with the multitude who voluntarily part with their freedom as men, to serve for a time as lacqueys, or for life as soldiers, in consideration of small wages, seems to me proof that your island is over-peopled. And yet it is afraid of emigrations!
Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me ever, yours very affectionately, B. Franklin.
To * * *
Dissuading him from attempting crossing to England in a balloon.
Dear Sir, . Pa sty, June 10,1785.
I have just received the only letter from you that has given me pain. It informs me of your intention to attempt passing to England in the car of a balloon. In the present imperfect state of that invention, I think it much too soon to hazard a voyage of that distance. It is said here by some of those who have had experience, that as yet they have not found means to keep up a balloon more than two hours; for that by now and then losing air to prevent rising too high and bursting, and now and then discharging ballast to avoid descending too low, these means of regulation are exhausted. Besides this, all die circumstances of danger by disappointment, in the operation of Soupapes,1 8tc. Sec. seem not to be yet well known, and therefore not easily provided against. For on Wednesday last M. Pilatre de Rosier, who had studied the subject as much as any man, lost his support in the air, by the bursting of his balloon, or by some other means we are yet unacquainted with, and fell with his companion * from the height of one thousand toises, on the rocky coast, and were both found dashed to pieces. You, having lived a good life, do not fear death. But pardon the anxious freedom of a friend, if he tells you that the continuance of your life being of importance to your family and your country, though you might laudably hazard it for their good, you have no right to risk it for a fancy. I pray God this may reach you in time, and have some effect towards changing your design: being ever, my dear friend, yours affectionately,
To Granville Sharpe, Esq.
Law of gavel-kind—Election of bishops—Abridgment of the
Dear Sir, Passy, July 5, 1785.
I received the books you were so kind as to send me by Mr. Drown. Please to accept my hearty thanks. Your writings, which always have some public good for their object, I always read with pleasure. I am perfectly of your opinion with respect to the salutary law of gavel-kind, and hope it may in time be established throughout America. In
1 The Marquis d'Arlandes.
six of the states already the lands of intestates are divided equally among the children if all girls; but there is a double share given to the eldest son, for w hich I see no more reason than in giving such share to the eldest daughter; and think there should be no distinction. Since my being last in France, I have seen several of our eldest sons spending idly their fortunes by residing in Europe, and neglecting their own country; these are from the southern states. The northern young men stay at home, and are industrious useful citizens; the more equal division of their fathers' fortunes not enabling them to ramble and spend their shares abroad, which is so much the better for their country.
I like your piece on (he election of bishops. There is a fact in Hollingslied's Chronicle, the latter part relating to Scotland, which shows, if my memory does not deeeive me, that the first bishop in that country was elected by the clergy; 1 mentioned it some time past in a letter to two young men,1 who asked my advice about obtaining ordination, which had been denied them by the bishops in England, unless they would take the oath of allegiance to the king; and 1 said, I imagine that unless a bishop is soon sent over, with a pow er to consecrate others, so that we may have no future occasion of applying to England for ordination, we may think it right,after reading your piece, to elect also.
The liturgy you mention was an abridgment of that made by a noble lord of my acquaintance, who requested me to assist him by taking the rest of the book, viz. the catechism and the reading and singing psalms. These I abridged by retaining of the catechism only the tw o questions, What is your duty to God't What is your duty to your neighbor? with answers. The psalms were much contracted by leaving out the repeti
'Sec Letter to Messrs. Weems and Gant, July 18, 1784.
tions (of which I found more than I could have imagined) and the imprecations, which appeared not to suit well the Christian doctrine of forgiveness of injuries, and doing good to enemies. The book was printed for VVilkie in St. Paul's Church-yard, but never much noticed. Some were given away, very few sold, and I suppose the bulk became waste paper. In the prayers so much was retrenched, that approbation could hardly be expected; but I think with you a moderate abridgment might not only be useful, but generally acceptable.
I am now on the point of departing for America, where 1 shall be glad occasionally to hear from you, and of your welfare; being with sincere and great esteem, dear sir, your most obedient and most humble servant, B. Franklin.
To David Hartley, Esc- M.P.
Passy, July 5, 17S5. I cannot quit the coasts of Europe without taking leave of my ever dear friend Mr. Hartley. We were long fellow-laborers in the best of all works, the work of peace. I leave you still in the field; but having finished my day's task, I am going home to go to bed! Wish me a good night's rest, as 1 do you a pleasant evening. Adieu! and believe me ever yours most affectionately, . B.franklin,
I in hia 80th year.
To His Excellency General Washington;
Dear Sir, Philadelphia, Sepl.QO, 178.5.
I am just arrived from a country where the reputation of General Washington runs very high, and where every body wishes to see him in person; but being told that it is not likely he ever will favor them with a visit, they hope at least for a sight of his perfect resemblance by means of their principal statuary, Mr. Houdon, whom Mr. Jefferson and myself agreed with to come over for the purpose of taking a bust, in order to make the intended statue for the state of Virginia. He is here; but, the materials and instruments he sent down the Seine from Paris not being arrived at Havre when we sailed, he was obliged to leave them, and is now busied in supplying himself here. As soon as that is done, he proposes to wait on you in Virginia, as he understands there is no prospect of your coming hither, which would indeed make me very happy, as it would give me the opportunity of congratulating with you personally on the final success of your long and painful labors in the service of our country, which have laid us all under eternal obligations. With the greatest and most sincere esteem and respect, I am, dear sir, your most obedient and most humble servant, B. Franklin.
Answer To The Foregoing.
Dear Sir, Mount Vernon, Sept. 26, 1785.
I had just written, and was about to put into the hands of Mr. Taylor, (a gentleman in the department of the secretary for foreign affairs,) the enclosed letter,1 when I had the honor to receive your favor of the 20th instant.
I have a grateful sense of the partiality of the French nation towards me: and I feel very sensibly for the indulgent expression of your letter, which does mc great honor.
When it suits Mr. Houdon to come hither, I will accommodate him in the best manner I am able, and shall endeavor to render his stay as agreeable as I can.
'This was a congratulatory letter to Dr. Franklin on his return to America, and will be found in the Memoirs of his Life, Part v. p. 382. 4to. edit.