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Will you also be so good as to present my respectful compliments to Madame la Duchesse d'Enville, and to M. le Due de la Rochefoucault? You may communicate the political part of this letter to that excellent man. His good heart will rejoice to hear of the welfare of America.
I made no progress when at sea in the history you mention :1 but I was not idle there, having written three pieces, each of some length: one on nautical matters; another on chimnies; and a third a description of my vase for consuming smoke, with directions for using it.1 These are all now printing in the Transactions of our Philosophical Society, of which I hope soon to send you a copy.
My grandsons present their compliments. The eldest is very busy in preparing for a country life, being to enter upon his farm the 25th instant. It consists of about 600 acres, bounding on navigable water, 16 miles from Philadelphia. The youngest is at college, very diligent in his studies. You know my situation, involved in public cares; but they cannot make me forget that you and I love one another, and that I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
To Mrs. Hewson, London.
My Dear Friend, Philadelphia, May 6, 1786. A long winter has passed and I have not had the pleasure of a line from you, acquainting me with your and your children's welfare, since I left England. 1 suppose you have been in Yorkshire out of the way and knowledge of
'Dr. I'ranklin's Memoirs of his Life.
* See Writings, Part IV. Papers on Philosophical Subjects.
opportunities; for I will not think you have forgotten me. To make me some amends, I received a few days past a large packet from Mr. Williams, dated September, 1776, near ten years since, containing three letters from you, one of December 12, 1775. This packet had been received by Mr. Bache after my departure for France, lay dormant among his papers during all my absence, and has just now broke out upon me like words, that had been, as somebody said, "congealed in northern air." Therein I find all the pleasing little family history of your children ; how William had begun to spell, overcoming by strength of memory all the difficulty occasioned by the common wretched alphabet; while you were convinced of the utility of oui new one. How Tom, genius-like, struck out new paths, and relinquishing the old names of the letters, called U Bell and P Bottle. How Eliza began to grow jolly, that is fat and handsome, resembling Aunt Rook, whom I used to call my lovely: together with all the then news of Lady Blunt's having produced at length a boy; of Dolly's being well, and of poor good Catherine's decease. Of your affairs with Muir and Atkinson, and of their contract for feeding the fish in the channel. Of the Vinys, and their jaunt to Cambridge in the long carriage. Of Dolly's journey to Wales with Mr. Scot. Of the Wilkes's, the Pearces, Elphinston, &c. &c. Concluding with a kind of promise, that as soon as the ministry and congress agreed to make peace, I should have you with me in America. That peace has been some time made, but alas! the promise is not yet fulfilled.—And why is it not fulfilled?
I have found my family here in health, good circumstances, and well respected by their fellow-citizens. The companions of my youth are indeed almost all departed, but I find an agreeable society among their children and grand-children. I have public business enough to preserve me from ennui, and private amusement besides, in conversation, books, my garden, and cribbage. Considering our well-furnished plentiful market as the best of gardens, I am turning mine, in the midst of which my house stands, into grass plats, and gravel walks, with trees and flowering shrubs. Cards we sometimes play here in long winter evenings, but it is as they play at chess, not for money but for honor, or the pleasure of beating one another. This will not be quite a novelty to you; as you may remember we played together in that manner during the winter you helped me to pass so agreeably at Passy. I have indeed now and then a little compunction in reflecting that I spend time so idly; but another reflection comes to relieve we, whispering, " You know the soul is immortal; why then should you be such a niggard of a little time, when you have a whole eternity before you?" So being easily convinced, and, like other reasonable creatures, satisfied with a small reason, when it is in favor of doing what I have a mind to do, I shuffle the cards again and begin another game.
As to public amusements, we have neither plays nor operas, but we had yesterday a kind of oratorio, as you will see by the enclosed paper; and we have assemblies, balls, and concerts, besides little parties at one another's houses, in •which there is sometimes dancing, and frequently good music; so that we jog on in life as pleasantly as you do m England, any where but in London; for there you have plays performed by good actors. That however is, I think, the only advantage London has over Philadelphia.
Temple has turned his thoughts to agriculture, which be pursues ardently, being in possession of a fine farm that his father lately conveyed to him. Ben is finishing his studies at college, and continues to behave as well as when you knew him, so that I still think he will make you a good son. His younger brothers and sisters arc also all promising, appearing to have good tempers and dispositions, as well as good constitutions. As to myself, I think my general health and spirits rather better than when you saw me, and the particular malady I then complained of, continues tolerable*. With sincere and very great esteem, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, B. Fran Klin.
P. S. My children and grand-children join with me in best wishes for you and yours. My love to my godson, to Eliza, and to honest Tom. They will all find agreeable companions here. Love to Dolly,1 and tell her she will do well to come with you.
To Noah Wkrstf-r, Esq.;
On a reformed alphabet.
Sir, Philadelphia, June 18,1786.
I received the letter you did me the honor of writing to me the 24th past, with the scheme enclosed of your reformed alphabet. I think the reformation not only necessary, but practicable; but have so much to say to you on the subject, that 1 wish to see and confer with you upon it, as that would save much time and writing. Sounds, till such an alphabet is fixed, not being easily explained or discoursed of clearly upon paper. 1 have formerly considered this matter pretty fully, and contrived some of the means of carrying it into execution, so as gradually to render the reformation general. Our ideas are so nearly similar, that I make no doubt of our easily agreeing on the plan, and yow may depend on the best support I may be able to give it, as a part of your institute, of which I wish you would bring
1 Mrs. Dorothy Blunt.
with you * complete copy, having as yet seen only a part of it: I shall then be better able to recommend it as you desire. Hoping to have soon the pleasure of seeing you, I do not enlarge, but am with sincere esteem, sir, your most obedient and most humble servant, B.franklin.
To William Cooke, Esq.;
On naming the new skate of Fr A N K Li N .
Sir, Philadelphia, August 12, 1786.
I received yesterday the letter you did me the honor of writing to me on the loth of June past. I had never before been acquainted that the name of your intended new state had any relation with my name, having understood that it was called Frank Land. It is a very great honor indeed that its inhabitants have done me, and I should be happy if it were in my power to show how sensible I am of it, by something more essential than my wishes for their prosperity.
Having resided some years past in Europe, and being but lately arrived thence, I have not had an opportunity of being well informed of the points in dispute between you and the state of North Carolina. I can therefore only say, that I think you are perfectly right in resolving to submit them to the discretion of congress, and to abide by their determination. It is a wise and impartial tribunal, which can have no sinister views to warp its judgment. It is happy for us all, that we have now in our own country such a council to apply to, for composing our differences, without being obliged, as formerly, to carry them across the ocean to be decided, at an immense expense, by a council which knew little of our affairs, would hardly take any pains to understand them, and which often treated our applications with contempt, and rejected them with injurious language. Let