Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

To Miss Georgiana Shipley'.'

Passy, October 8, 1780. It is long, very long, my dear friend, since I had the great pleasure of hearing from you, and receiving any of your very pleasing letters. But it is my fault. I have long omitted my part of the correspondence. Those who love to receive letters should write letters. I wish I could safely promise an amendment of that fault. But besides the indolence attending age, and growing upon us with it, my time is engrossed by too much business, and I have too many inducements to postpone doing, what I feel I ought to do for my own sake, and what I can never resolve to omit entirely.

Your translations from Horace, as far as I can judge pf poetry and translations, are very good. That of the Quo qu» ruitis is so suitable to the times, that the conclusion (in your version) seems to threaten like a prophecy; and methinks there is at least some appearance of danger that it may be fulfilled.—I am unhappily an enemy, yet I think there has been enough of blood spilt, and 1 wish what is left in the veins of that once loved people, may be spared; by a peace solid and everlasting.

It is a great while since I heard any thing of the good bishop. Strange, that so simple a character should sufficiently distinguish one of that sacred body! Donnez-moi de ses nouvelles.1 I have been some time flattered with the expectation of seeing the countenance of that most honored and ever beloved friend, delineated by your pencil. The portrait is said to have been long on the way, but is not yet arrived: nor can 1 hear where it is. .

, Indolent as I have confessed myself to be, I could not, you

iDaughter of Dr. Shipley, bishop of St. Asaph.

[ocr errors]

see, miss this good and safe opportunity of sending you a few lines, with my best wishes for your happiness, and that of the whole dear and amiable family in whose sweet society I have spent so many happy hours. Mr. Jones' tells me he shall have a pleasure in being the bearer of my letter, of which 1 make no doubt: I learn from him, that to your drawing, and music, and painting, and poetry, and Latin, you have added a proficiency in chess; so that you are, as the French say, remplie de talents. May they and you fall to the lot of one thatshall duly value them, and love you as much as I do!

Adieu. B. Franklin.

To Doctor Price.

On the British parliamentReligious tests, Sfc.

Dear Sir, Passy, October 9, 1780.

Besides the pleasure of their company, I had the great satisfaction of hearing by your two valuuble friends, and learning from your letter, that you enjoy a good state of health. May God continue it, as well for the good of mankind as for your comfort! I thank you much for the second edition of your excellent pamphlet: I forwarded that you sent to Mr. Dana, he being in Holland. I wish also to see the piece you have written, (as Mr. Jones tells me) on toleration: I do not expect that your new parliament will be either wiser or honester than the last. All projects to procure an honest one, by place bills, &c. appear to me vain and impracticable. The true cure, I imagine, is to be found only in rendering all places unprofitable, and the king too poor to give bribes and pensions. Till this is done, which can only be by a revolution,

1 Afterwards sir William Jones, who married the bishop of St. Asaph's eldest daughter, Anna Maria Shipley.

(and I Ihink you have not virtue enough left to procure one,) your nation will always be plundered, and obliged to pay by taxes the plunderers for plundering and ruining. Liberty and virtue therefore join in the call, Come Out Of Her, My People!

I am fully of your opinion respecting religious tests; bat though the people of Massachusetts have not in their new constitution kept quite clear of them; yet if we consider what that people were one hundred years ago, we must allow they have gone greater lengths in liberality of sentiment, on religious subjects: and we may hope for greater degrees of perfection when their constitution some years hence shall be revised. If Christian preachers had continued to teach as Christ and his apostles did, without salaries, and as the Quakers now do, I imagine tests would never have existed; for I think they were invented not so much to secure religion itself, as the emoluments of it. When a religion is good, I conceive that' it will support itself; and when it cannot support itself, and God does not take care to support it, so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil power, 'tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one. But I shall be out of my depth if I wade any deeper in theology, and I will not trouble you with politics, nor with news which are almost as uncertain; but conclude with a heart-felt wish to embrace you once more, and enjoy your sweet society in peace, among our honest, worthy, ingenious friends at the London.

Adieu, &c.

B. Franklin.

To Sir Grey Cooper, Baronet, secretary to the treasury of Great Britain.

Respecting Mr. President Laurens.

Sir, Passy, November 7, 1780.

I understand that Mr. Laurens, an American gentleman, for whom I have a great esteem, is a prisoner in the Tower, and that his health suffers by the closeness and rigor of his confinement. As I do not think that your affairs receive any advantage from the harshness of this proceeding, I take the freedom of requesting your kind interposition, to obtain for him such a degree of air and liberty on his parole or otherwise, as may be necessary for his health and comfort. The fortune of war which is daily changing, may possibly put it in my power to do the like good office for some friend of yours, which I shall perform with much pleasure, not only for the sake of humanity, but in respect to the ashes of our former friendship.

With great regard, I have the honor to be, &c.

B. Franklin.

From Sir Grey Cooper To Dr. Franklin. '• Answer to the foregoing.

Sir, London, November 29, 1780.

I have received the honor of your letter in which you acquainted me, that you understood that the health of Mr. Laurens suffered by the closeness and rigor of his confinement in the Tower; and after complaining of the harshness of this proceeding, you request me to endeavor to obtain for Mr. Laurens such a degree of air and liberty as may be necessary for his health and comfort. The enclosed letter, which I received from the lieutenant-governor of the Tower, will show that I have not been inattentive to your request, and at the same time prove that the intelligence you receive of what passes in this country, is not always what is to be depended on for its accuracy and correctness.

I have the honor to be, &c.

Grey Cooper.

{Enclosed in the foregoing^

From the Lieutenant-Governor of the Tower of London to Sir Grey Cooper.

Dear Sir, Hampstead, November 27, 1780.

I am much ashamed to think I shall appear so dilatory in answering the favor of your letter; but the truth is, I was not in town when the messenger left it in Cork-street, and by the neglect of my servants, I received it only on Sunday last. I went immediately to the Tower to kuow from Mr. Laurens himself, if he had any cause of complaint, and if he had availed himself of the indulgence allowed him by the secretary of state, of walking within the Tower whenever it was agreeable to himself: his answer to me was full and frank to the questions, that he had received every reasonable indulgence since his confinement; and that by the liberty allowed him of walking, he found his health much mended: he said at the.same time, he had always thought himself highly honored, by the distinguished place of his confinement, and regretted much it was not in his power, to make known to all the world the acknowledgments he had more than once made to me upon this subject.'

1 The tenor of the foregoing does not quadrate with the sentiments expressed by Mr. Laurens, about a year afterwards in his petition to the house of commons, written by himself in the Tower, with a blacklead pencil, on a blank leaf of an octavo book, and privately conveyed

« ZurückWeiter »