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It would give me infinite pleasure to see you. At this place I dare not look for it, although to entertain you under my own roof would be doubly gratifying. When, or whether ever, I shall have the satisfaction of seeing you at Philadelphia is uncertain, as retirement from the walks of public life has not been so productive of that leisure and ease, as might have been expected. With very great esteem and respect, I am, dear sir, your most obedient humble servant,
To Mr. And Mrs. Jay. Answer to their congratulations on his arrival in America.
Dear Friends, Philadelphia, Sept. 21, 1785.
I received your very kind letter of the l6th, congratulating me on my safe arrival with my grandsons; an event that indeed makes me very happy, being what 1 have long ardently wished, and considering the growing infirmities of age, began almost to despair of. I am now in the bosom of my family, and find four new little prattlers, who cling about the knees of their grandpapa, and afford me great pleasure. The affectionate welcome I met with from my fellowcitizens was far beyond my expectation: I bore my voyage very well, and find myself rather better for it; so that I have every possible reason to be satisfied with my having undertaken and performed it. When I was at Passy I could not bear a wheel carriage; and being discouraged in my project of descending the Seine in a boat, by the difficulties and tediousness of its navigation in so dry a season, I accepted the offer of one of the king's litters, carried by large mules, which brought me well, though in walking slowly, to Havre. Thence I went over in a packet boat to Southampton, where I staid four days, till the ship came for me to Spitbead. Several of my London friends came there to see roe, particularly the good Bishop of St. Asaph and family, who staid with me to the last. In short I am now so well as to think it possible that I may once more have the pleasure of seeing you both perhaps at New York, with my dear young friends (who I hope may not have quite forgotten ine); for I imagine, that on the sandy road between Burlington and Amboy I could bear an easy coach, and the rest is water. I rejoice to hear that you continue well; being with true and great esteem and affection, your most obedient servant,
To David Hartley, Esq.
Dear Sir, Philadelphia, Oct. 27, 1785.
I received at Havre de Grace 6 copies of your print, which I brought with me hither. I shall frame and keep one of them in my best room. I shall send one to Mr. Jay, and give the others among some friends who esteem and respect you as we do. •
Your newspapers are filled with accounts of distresses and miseries that these states are plunged into since their separation from Britain. You may believe me when 1 tell you that there is no truth in those accounts. I find all property in lands and houses augmented vastly in value; that of houses and towns at least four-fold. The crops have been plentiful, and yet the produce sells high, to the great profit of the farmer. At the same time all imported goods sell at low rates, some cheaper than the first cost. Working people have plenty of employ and high pay for their labor. These appear to me as certain signs of public prosperity. Some traders indeed complain that trade is dead; but this pretended evil is not an effect of inability in the people to buy, pay for, and consume the usual articles of commerce, as far as they have occasion for them, it is owing merely to there being too many traders who have crowded hither from all parts of Europe with more goods than the natural demand of the country requires. And what in Europe is called the debt of America is chiefly the debt of these adventurers and supercargoes to their principals, with which the settled inhabitants of America, who never paid better for what they want and buy, have nothing to do. As to the contentment of the inhabitants with the change of government, methinks a stronger proof cannot be desired, than what they have given in my reception. You know the part I had in that change; and you see in the papers the addresses from all ranks with which your friend was welcomed home, and the sentiments they contain confirmed yesterday iu the choice of him for president by the council and new assembly, which was unanimous; a single voice in seventyseven excepted.
I remember you used to wish for newspapers from America. Herewith 1 send a few, and you shall be regularly supplied, if you can put me in a way of sending them, so as that you may not be obliged to pay postage.
With unchangeable esteem and respect 1 am, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, B. Franklin.
To M. Mathon De La Cour;
Sir, Philadelphia, Nov. 18, 1785.
I received duly the letter you did me the honor of writing to me the 25th of June past, together with the collection you have made des comptes rendus dc vos controleurs generaux; and your Discours sur les nun/ens d"encourager le patriotisme dans les monarchies. The first is a valuable work, as containing a great deal of useful information; but the second I am particularly charmed with, the sentiments being delightfully just, aud expressed with such force and clearness, that I am persuaded the pamphlet, though small, must have a great effect on the minds of both princes and people, and thence be productive of much good to mankind. Be pleased to accept my hearty thanks for both. - •
It is right to be sowing good seed whenever we have an opportunity, since some of it may be productive. An instance of this you should be acquainted with, as it may afford you pleasure. The reading of Fortune Ricard's Testament Las put it into the head and heart of a citizen to leave two thousand pounds sterling to two American cities, who are to lend it in small sums at five per cent, to young beginners in business; and the accumulation, after an hundred years, to be laid out in public works of benefit to those cities.1 With great esteem, I have the honor to be, sir, yoAar most obedient and most humble servant, B. Franklin.
To Dr. Bancroft, F.R.S. &c. London;
On a proposed new edition of Dr. Franklin's writings, by Mr. Dilli/, the bookseller—A commercial treaty between Great Britain and the United States.
Dear Sir, Philadelphia, Nov. 26, 1785.
I received your kind letter of September 5, informing me of the intention Mr. Dilly has of printing a new edition of my writings, and of his desire that I would furnish him with such additions as I may think proper. At present all my papers and manuscripts are so mixt with other things, by the confusions occasioned in sudden and various removals during the late troubles, that I can hardly find any thing. But having nearly finished an addition to my house, which
1 See codicil to Dr. Franklin's will, in Memoirs of his Life, part v. p. 418. 4to. ed.
wilt afford me room to put all in order, I hope soon to be able to comply with such a request; but I hope Mr. Dilly will have a good understanding in the affair with Henry and Johnson, who having risked the former impressions, may suppose they thereby acquired some right in the copy. At to the life proposed to be written, if it be by the same hand who furnished a sketch to Dr. Lettsom, which he sent me, I am afraid it will be found too full of errors for either you or me to correct: and having been persuaded by my friends, Messrs. Vaughan and Monsieur Le Veillard, Mr. James of this place, and some others, that such a life, written by myself, may be useful to the rising generation, 1 have made some progress in it, and hope to finish it this winter; so I cannot but wish that project of Mr. Dilly's biographer may be laid aside. 1 am nevertheless thankful to you for your friendly offer of correcting it.
As to public affairs, it is long since I gave over all expectations of a commercial treaty between us and Britain; and I think we can do as well, or better without one than she can. Our harvests are plenty, our produce fetches a high price in hard money, and there is in every part of our country incontestable marks of public felicity. We discover, indeed, some errors in our general and particular constitutions, which it is no wonder they should have, the time in which they were formed being considered. But these we shall soon mend. The little disorders you have heard of in some of the states, raised by a few wrong heads, are subsiding, and will probably soon be extinguished. My best wishes and those of my family attend you. We shall be happy to see you here, when it suits you to visit us; being with sincere and great esteem, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,